Male orangutan is saved after being stranded atop tree in burning West Borneo forest

An orangutan stranded on a treetop as part of a forest burned beneath him has been saved by rescuers in West Borneo.

The large male, named Junai, was rescued in the village of Tanjungpura, Muara Pawan in Ketapang District on 28th September.

(IAR)The West Kalimantan Conservation Agency (BKSDA) and International Animal Rescue (IAR) Indonesia carried out the emergency operation after villagers in Tanjung Pura reported sightings of him to the IAR centre in Ketapang

Junai, thought to be around 20 years old, was found perched near the top of a tall tree and unable to reach any other trees because there were so few remaining.

(IAR)An assessment by the Orangutan Protection Unit (OPU) observation team, combined with analysis and mapping of the surrounding vegetation carried out using drones, confirmed that the orangutan couldn't be driven back to his habitat because fire had left it burnt or fragmented.

It was agreed that the only way to save him was to translocate him, before the rescue team used a dart gun to anaesthetise and capture him without incident.

Land and forest fires are one of the most serious threats to the orangutans' survival, with the destruction of their natural habitat leaving them homeless, destitute and hungry.

(IAR)The displaced animals often venture into gardens and villages in search of food - leading to conflict between orangutans and local people.

The Head of West Kalimantan BKSDA, Sadtata Noor, said: "Settlement of human-animal onflicts requires policies that are more comprehensive and long term. Rescue operations or even relocation do not answer the long-term needs of wild animals.

(IAR)"For this reason the government, together with partners and the community, must be more courageous when discussing formulating concrete steps in the field that will answer the problem of such conflict. And there's no time to waste!"

Karmele L Sanchez, IAR Indonesia Programme Director, said: "We rely on collaboration and cooperation from the community to ensure that orangutans that stray into gardens or residential areas are not harmed or killed.

(IAR)"We greatly appreciate the cooperation of Team Partners and the local community who immediately reported the existence of the orangutan so that the Rescue Team from the BKSDA and IAR Indonesia was able to intervene and save the orangutan as well as protecting people's gardens from damage."

Alan Knight, IAR CEO, said: "We applaud the Tanjung Pura community for alerting us to the presence of this magnificent male orangutan, enabling the rescue team to step in and avert a potential human-wildlife conflict.

(IAR)"Land and forest fires pose a very serious threat to orangutans' lives and this Critically Endangered species needs all the help it can get if it is to stand any chance of survival."

In less than two weeks, IAR Indonesia and BKSDA Kalbar have rescued four orangutans whose forest home has been destroyed by fire.

- This article first appeared on Yahoo
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