4 min read

Orangutan Whose Forest Burned Down Is Saved Just In Time

What heroes 👏

The timing of the rescue couldn’t have been more perfect.

Fires had blown through stretches of rainforest in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, and two orangutans were clinging to the last trees in the area. Both of them were tired and hungry, and they didn’t know what to do next.

Orangutan in last tree in burned rainforest
One of the orangutans clinging to a remaining tree in the burnt rainforest | IAR

But then, they were found by the best people.

A team of rescuers from International Animal Rescue (IAR) and the West Kalimantan Conservation Agency (BKSDA) found the two 20-year-old orangutans, later named Bara and Arang, and worked to get them safely down from the trees.

Orangutan clinging to last tree in burnt rainforest
IAR

“The orangutans were darted and tranquilized,” Phily Kennington, social media and community fundraising manager for IAR, told The Dodo. “Our team then caught them in a net as they fell from the tree. This takes great precision and skill!”

Rescuers saving orangutans in rainforest
IAR

Once the orangutans were safely in the team’s care, they were loaded onto trucks and driven to IAR’s rescue and rehabilitation center. Now they’re getting the best medical care, and all the food, water — and love — that they need. 

Bara and Arang are expected to make a full recovery, and eventually be released into Gunung Palung National Park, a protected area of rainforest.

Rescuers loading rescued orangutan onto truck
IAR

“Rescuing these two wonderful animals, and finding them stranded with nothing but devastation around them is heartbreaking for all of us,” Kennington said. “The positive aspect will come when we see them released into the safety of Gunung Palung National Park.”

Rescued orangutan in transport carrier
IAR

The fires in West Kalimantan — most of which were lit by people wanting to clear the forest so they could plant palms for palm oil — continue to burn, and more animals will need help in the coming weeks. But the rescue team is determined to save as many animals as possible.

Orangutan safely in transport carrier
IAR

“We cannot praise the extraordinary dedication our team has shown over these past few terrifying months,” Kennington said. “They are truly heroes. They have worked 24/7 to fight fires and keep our orangutans safe.”

People loading rescue orangutan onto truck
IAR

Thanks to these brave rescuers, Bara and Arang are safe — and they’ll have many things to look forward to when they’re released back into the forest.

To help rescue more orangutans like Bara and Arang, you can make a donation to IAR.