Fortunately, an IAR veterinarian stumbled onto the scene. She managed to rescue the pair from the crowd, but despite medical attention the mother died, unable to recover from her previous injuries and the water in her lungs.
While the cruelty in this case might be extreme, death isn't an unusual fate for orangutans affected by palm oil production. Orangutans have lost 80 percent of their habitat due to human activities like deforestation - in the past decade alone they've lost around 50 percent of their population.
Their forest homes are being leveled to make way for plantations and the orangutans are often shot on sight. If not, they often die in the wildfires that deforestation can cause. Mothers are also killed so their babies can be sold into the exotic pet trade - which could have happened to this little one if IAR hadn't been on site to stop it.
Instead, the little orangutan whose mother fought so valiantly to protect her moved to IAR's rescue center, where she was named Peni and spent four years learning how to be a grown-up orangutan. And in fall 2014, she was released into the forest to hopefully live the life her mother never got to live.