Orangutans share 97 percent of their DNA with humans and have proven themselves to be highly intelligent and resourceful. When they are in their natural rainforest habitats, they spend virtually all of their time in the treetops, caring for their loved ones, exploring their environment, and foraging for food. Just like the rest of us, they want to live in peace and free from harm.

Unfortunately, not all humans sees these amazing creatures as the thoughtful and sensitive beings that they are. For “International Orangutan Week,” International Animal Rescue, a worldwide animal rescue organization that is dedicated to saving and rehabilitating endangered and at-risk animals shared this heartbreaking story.

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Bonika the baby orangutan was chained to a narrow plank for six months by a family who wanted to keep her as a pet. 

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The length of the chain was so very short that Bonika could barely move from side to side and was stranded on the plank of wood, according to the International Animal Rescue

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Her diet consisted of rice, sugar cane, biscuits, bread, mineral water, and baby milk. 

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When the International Animal Rescue‘s Human-Orangutan Conflict Team was visiting the Sandai district, they thankfully heard about Bonika and passed the information on to the rescue team who acted quickly to rescue this suffering baby.

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We are happy to say that Bonika is now safe at the International Animal Rescue’s rescue and rehabilitation center in West Borneo. She will be given expert treatment and care. With time, Bonika will learn how to be a wild orangutan again.

We are thankful Bonika was rescued but that’s not the case for all of her friends. Orangutans may not be with us for much longer to do the palm oil industry’s destructive actions. Unfortunately, over 90 percent of the orangutan’s original habitat has been destroyed and converted to palm oil plantations, leaving these animals with nowhere to go. If orangutans wander onto a palm plantation, they can be shot on sight. Over the past two decades, 20,000 of them have met their deaths at the hands of the palm oil industry, with at least 1,000 of them directly killed for their presence on palm plantations each year. When parts of the rainforest  are cleared, orangutans are left without food. In order to feed themselves, they have no choice but to enter nearby villages in search for food. As a result, mother orangutans are killed by poachers. And their babies are stolen from them and sold to wildlife parks or kept as pets, like Bonika.

To help end deforestation and save orangutans, choose planet-friendly alternatives to palm oil. To help the Human-Orangutan Conflict team save other orangutans just like Bonika who are chained up, malnourished, and waiting for their rescue, click here.

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Image Source: International Animal Rescue/Facebook