Indonesian villagers accidentally burn orangutan they were trying to smoke out of fruit tree

Villagers trying to smoke an orangutan out of a fruit tree where he was sheltering accidentally set him on fire.

The distressed animal had been hiding in the leaves above the village of Lower Wajok in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, because its habitat had been disturbed, wildlife experts said.

Locals concerned that it would eat the fruit from the rambutan tree and destroying their crops tried to make it move on by lighting a fire under it on Sunday.

Experts had initially tried to give it a tranquilliser but their efforts had failed.

The flames were lifted by the wind, however, and set light to the poor creature's fur.

Injured creature: Villagers said they had simply been trying to persuade the animal to move away and not eat their fruit

Villagers fought to put out the fire, but fortunately the orangutan fell out of the tree and survived. It has now been treated by a vet and is expected to make a full recovery in three to four days.

Worrying development: The orangutan had strayed from the jungle into a rambutan tree

Head of the Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) in West Kalimantan told BBC Indonesia that the orangutan went to the village because its habitat had been disturbed.

The vet pointed out that the animal is wild, not a pet, so it does not need to be rehabilitated, and will now be returned to the jungle.

Close call: Locals feared the animal would devastate crops and attempted to force it to flee by setting fire to trees

One local, Ali Zakaria, said: 'It's been 60 years I've lived here. This is just the first time it has happened in the village. Yesterday he made a nest in the palm trees.'

Niken wuri Handayani, Coordinator of Forest Ecosystem Operator BKSDA in West Kalimantan, said: 'Our focus is on evacuation.'

On fire: This is the dramatic moment the orangutan was accidentally set alight during a bungled rescue attempt that went terribly wrong

The rehabilitation process is only conducted by the conservation centre if orangutans are living as domestic animals. The nest has been cut down so it will not return.

BKSDA said villagers are educated to not hurt orangutans and report to the organisation if they need help moving the orangutans.

Safety: Rescuers put the orangutan in a box for transportation - but vets said it would recover in days

Badly burned: The wounded orangutan was treated by environmental activists after the fire was put out and it was rescued from the tree

In West Kalimantan, there are about 4,500 to 5,000 orangutans under the watch of the centre, and this is the first time one had been set on fire.

Bizarre occurrence: There are thousands of orangutans in West Kalimantan but none have ever been set on fire before

Experts had initially tried to give it a tranquilliser but their efforts had failed

See you later! The animal should not need rehab because it is a wild creature and was never domestic

Source : dailymail


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