An animal welfare non-profit organisation called International Animal Rescue released a video from the forests of Indonesia which shows an anguished orangutan fighting a bulldozer which was uprooting trees in the area it called home.
The video which was reportedly shot in 2013 but only released to the public two days ago on World Environment Day, June 5, has been viewed over 155,000 times and shared over 4,900 times. The viral video has provoked strong reactions among viewers.
The short clip shows a highly distressed orangutan trying to "confront" a bulldozer that is felling trees. "This desperate orangutan is frantically seeking refuge from the destructive power of the bulldozer; a machine that has already decimated everything else around him," International Animal Rescue writes on Facebook.
The video also shows the large-scale felling of full-grown trees that are home to a diverse range of creatures including the critically-endangered orangutans.
The group which rescues and rehabilitates orangutans in Indonesia said that despite no help from those uprooting the trees, they managed to sedate and rescue the orangutan from the scene.
The population of the Bornean orangutan has plummeted more than 50 percent in the last 15 years with at least one lakh dying due to a lack of habitat and poaching. Their habitat has been reduced by at least 80 percent over the past 20 years. In the post the organisation writes, “Unfortunately, scenes like this are becoming more and more frequent in Indonesia. Deforestation has caused the orangutan population to plummet; habitats are destroyed and orangutans are left to starve and die.”
There are three separate species of orangutans and all are critically endangered. Recent estimates put the Bornean orangutan population at approximately 57,000 individuals, the Sumatran orangutan population at around 13,000 and the Tapanuli species at close to 800 individuals.
Orangutan habitat is being destroyed and degraded by oil-palm plantations, illegal logging, acacia plantations (for wood pulp), fire, mining, roads and development, and small-scale shifting cultivation.
IAR explains that it operates a landscape-based conservation programme involving companies, governments and other stakeholders and local communities to seek a more balanced approach for people and the natural environment.