Issues of the day: Orangutan dies after accidentally burned
Paper Edition | Page: 8
Aug. 30, p. Online
A male orangutan clings to a treetop, in an attempt to avoid villagers who were trying to chase him out from their plantations in Parit Wak Dongkak village, West Kalimantan, on Sunday. The ape accidentally caught fire, and died on Wednesday night. (Antara/Jessica Helena Wuysang)
A male orangutan, which was accidentally set alight by villagers in West Kalimantan, died on Wednesday night after succumbing to severe burns on his hands, chest and legs.
The 17-year-old ape had allegedly crossed over the hedge of plantation in Parit Wak Dongkak, Pontianak, on Saturday. Residents living in the area were afraid that the ape would destroy the crops, so they tried to chase it out of a tree by setting the tree on fire.
The term “accidentally” just sounds ridiculous and I am completely sure that it’s not. It’s common practice to kill adult orangutans (and sell the young) in palm oil plantations. The locals even make money out of it, around US$20-$30/each to be exact.
I cannot blame the orangutan for intruding on the site: they’re homeless and often starve to death since their habitat has been destroyed for massive timber and palm oil plantations (they also burn the forest to clear land) and illegal logging in Kalimantan and Sumatra.
It looks like I must stop eating margarine and cooking oil derived from palm oil.
Michael de Wilde
I saw the news coverage in Trans TV and it was not an accident: it was murder. People set fire and killed poor our brother but I don’t blame people there anyway. They have their reasons for doing this.
This is not an accident. Just the result of stupidity and lack of respect for life.
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