An orangutan mother in the Subulussalam district of Sumatra, Indonesia was shot over 70 times with an air gun, leaving the endangered ape blinded. X-ray results revealed at least 74 air gun pellets inside its body, six of which were in its eyes, Yenny Saraswati, a veterinarian at the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program, said. The rescue team that saved the animal named her "Hope." The shooting caused her to go blind, and she sustained several open wounds from sharp objects. Saraswati said that Hope received surgery for a broken collarbone on Sunday and is recovering.
Villagers found Hope severely wounded last week in a farm in Aceh province's Subulussalam district with her month-long baby, reported head of Aceh provincial conservation agency Sapto Aji Prabowo. The baby ape died of malnourishment on the way to an orangutan veterinary clinic in a nearby district.
"Hopefully Hope can pass this critical period, but she cannot be released to the wild anymore," said Saraswati. Experts have only been able to remove seven gun pellets so far because the collarbone surgery posed a greater risk of infection.
Orangutans have become increasingly endangered as the palm oil and paper industries consume more of the animals' natural jungle habitat. Widely available air guns are often used to kill wildlife including endangered species—a major problem in Indonesia, the orangutan conservation program said. The conservation program has had to treat more than 15 orangutans with nearly 500 total air gun pellets in their bodies over the last 10 years.