JAKARTA – Indonesian police were investigating on Thursday the death of an orangutan which was found with wounds from 130 air-gun pellets and other multiple injuries in the Indonesian part of Borneo, the second such incident in a month in the archipelago, official sources said.
Local and regional officers were working to find the culprits, Budi Heryawan, the chief of police in the district where the animal was found, told EFE by phone.
The orangutan was found on Sunday with serious injuries by a group of villagers in the Kutai Timur district in the East Kalimantan province.
Locals took the animal to a hospital in the city of Bontang, where it died on Tuesday.
An autopsy carried out by authorities and a team of the nonprofit Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP) revealed that the orangutan had been shot all over its body, apart from being struck and knifed 19 times.
“This is very cruel, and 130 bullets in the orangutan is a new record,” COP habitat protection manager Ramadhani told EFE.
In mid-January, the decapitated body of another orangutan was found with knife injuries and 17 pellet wounds in Borneo’s Central Kalimantan province.
After two weeks the police arrested two suspects who claim that they killed the orangutan in self-defense and face up to five years in jail and fines of up to $7,350 if found guilty.
Around 1,000 orangutans are killed every year in Sumatra and Borneo, where the separation of orangutan groups due to increasing construction of roads, agricultural infrastructure and industry poses a threat to the species, according to the nonprofit Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme.
An estimated 71,640 orangutans live on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo – shared between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei – with the population in decline and at risk of extinction, according to a government study published in 2017.
The flora and fauna of Borneo has suffered severe damage in the last few decades due to the expansion of plantations of palm and rubber and forestry serving as raw material for the paper industry.