The Fate Of Orangutans, In One Sad Photo
This is the fate of so many orangutans, in one tragic photo.
The image, taken on Wednesday, shows a young male orangutan who's being kept as a pet in Indonesia. He stares off into the distance as he wraps himself up in a sack, burrowing into it as if it could shield him from the world. His face speaks for itself.
Little is known about him, except that the Indonesian government has resisted calls to move the young orangutan to a sanctuary. And sadly he's far from alone. Orangutans are one of the primary targets of the exotic pet trade, and infants are frequently stolen from their mothers to be sold as pets. Because orangutan mothers will fiercely protect their babies, hunters will brutally kill the mothers so their little children can be taken.
And with growing palm oil plantations devastating orangutans' native habitats, more and more orangutans are facing a fate like this. They've lost up to 80 percent of their population in the last century, with the orangutan death rate increasing significantly in recent years. Many babies end up as pets, with a lucky few rescued - adults are often killed, die in fires caused by deforestation or worse.
Of course, none of that matters to this little ape, who likely watched his mother being killed before being sold as a pet.
If you'd like to help orangutans who were rescued from situations like this one, you can make a donation to International Animal Rescue, which runs an orangutan orphanage to rehabilitate them and reintroduce them into the wild.