It’s a heartbreaking and horrifying image of cruelty. A young wild orangutan desperately clings to her dying mother. They were captured and tortured by villagers when they wandered too close in their desperate hunt for food.
Orangutans in West Borneo are suffering starvation and human persecution as palm oil production continues to destroy their natural habitat. In the past 10 years, the orangutan population has decreased by around 50 percent due to deforestation and hunting.
Peni and her mother were driven from their home in the forest when they stumbled into a new horror. The cruel villagers beat Peni’s mother until she collapsed and then tied her up with ropes. They forcibly pulled Peni from her mother, and when her mother tried to fight to hang on to her baby, the villagers dragged her to a pool of water and held her underwater until she passed out.
“She was still alive but could barely sit up,” International Animal Rescue said. “As she no longer posed any threat to the villagers they dragged the infant by the rope attached to her foot and tossed her into the cage with her dying mother.
A large crowd of people gathered around the cage and took amusement in their suffering. The mother used what strength she had left to wrap her arms around her terrified baby while her infant desperately tried to chew through the ropes still tied to her mother’s arms and legs.”
A veterinarian from IAR stumbled across the horrific scene somehow managed to rescue the pair from the angry mob. But despite her best efforts, Peni’s mother died from the injuries of her abuse.
Peni was saved, however, and brought to International Animal Rescue’s sanctuary where she began a long journey back to health. She was successfully rehabilitated and has now been safely released back into the wild.
The video below shares more of her heartbreaking story and of her hope-filled release back into the wild.