IThis photo just makes me break into tears:
First the basic facts (though some are apparently in dispute):
Apparently, villagers in West Kalimantan, Indonesia (Indonesian Borneo) were afraid that an orangutan, whose forest-home was destroyed by a palm oil plantation, would destroy their crops — more palm trees for palm oil. To protect their precious commidity, the villagers allegedly wanted to “smoke” it out of a palm (oil) tree (though we’re now seeing stories involving “fumigation”). But the tree seemed to be engulfed in flames (by accident?). Well, you can imagine what happened next: the fire spread up the tree, trapping the petrified orang — and setting him alight. (Some accounts claim a veterinarian tried to tranquilize it with darts.) The male orang fell out of the tree after being burned by the flames, and vets from an NGO tried to save it. Supposedly, many sources reported that its wound were “superficial.”
Here’s a news story on the subject: the video itself is graphic, grainy, blurry, so beware:
Now the tragic news: that beautiful creature DIED today from its (supposedly superficial) wounds. Or was it from the long trip, the dehydration, etc.?) So there’s some misinformation out there because an animal doesn’t just die from superficial burns.
Here’s a link to that story:
The point of the story is: the evil of the palm oil scourge. (See my blog pieces on this subject.) The NGOs blame the palm oil plantations, which I do too. But I blame the Indonesian governments (whether federal, state or local) for their graft, greed, corruption and conspiracy with the palm oil goons, for letting this rape of their rainforests occur daily.
The villagers need to be educated too. It’s not “us v. them.” They do seem to have a certain consciousness of guilt here; that’ s perhaps why the story has changed to “they were trying to smoke him out of the tree” from earlier reports that just seemed to say the villagers set the tree on fire. And the fact that this story has hit the evening news in Indonesia (and on the BBC) at least demonstrates that there’s some recognition that this is WRONG.
Perhaps the consciousness of a seemingly conscience-free nation can be raised — and villagers can learn to cope with these animals before trying to kill them.
- Watch In Horror As Dumb Humans Accidentally Set an Endangered Orangutan On Fire (motherboard.vice.com)
- It’s either orangutans or cheap palm oil (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Palm Oil Crisis Orangutans Need Our Help!! (climateofourfuture.wordpress.com)
- Sumatran Orangutans Being ‘Extinguished’ by Palm Oil Push (commondreams.org)