Rescuers from International Animal Rescue (IAR) have freed a baby orangutan who was being kept in a small cage the size of a cupboard. The orphaned orangutan had been kept in these horrible conditions for over a year. According to reports, he had been found on land that was cleared to make way for a palm oil plantation. Now, thanks to IAR, the baby is finally starting life over again, safe at the organization’s orangutan conservation center.

The IAR team carried out the rescue with members of the BKSDA (Conservation of Natural Resources) and SPORC (The Rapid Response Police Unit of the Environment and Forestry Protection and Law Enforcement Agency). 

The baby orangutan, named Muaro, is about 15 months old.

The man who kept the animal, Anwar, said he had come across the orphan when an area of land was being cleared for a palm oil plantation. He claimed he felt sorry for the orangutan and decided to bring him home.

The man built a small wooden cage to keep the orangutan in. He fed him condensed milk and other human food.


The baby did not seem in bad condition at first, but a more thorough medical examination showed that he was suffering from a skin disease and a respiratory problem.

He was given immediate medical care, rehydration fluids, and food.

Afterward, he was prepared for his journey to IAR’s orangutan conservation center in Ketapang. The journey to the orangutan’s new home took over 15 hours and required an overnight stay at the BKSDA’s offices.

Once at IAR’s center, the baby settled into his quarantine quarters where he will stay for several weeks. At the same time, Muaro will undergo a series of medical tests to assess his mental and physical condition and ensure that he is free from contagious diseases.


“Muaro is yet another victim of the terrible impact of the palm oil industry,” said Alan Knight, CEO of IAR. “His mother was almost certainly killed for him to be all alone in the devastated forest. Happily, he is in safe hands now. Once he is out of quarantine, he will join more than 100 other orangutans undergoing rehabilitation at our center and begin his long journey back to freedom.”

According to a recent report prepared by a team of international conservationists, 150,000 Bornean orangutans have been lost in the last 16 years – and the chief culprit of this dramatic demise is the palm oil industry. Tragically, palm oil is found in around 50 percent of all consumer goods, so demand for this destructive product is incredibly high. While some corporations have made efforts to source “sustainable” palm oil, it is very difficult to track where palm oil supply comes from and if it has contributed to deforestation. Greenpeace recently launched a campaign calling out major companies that have failed to disclose their supply chains. If you want to help orangutans and ensure your purchasing decisions aren’t causing rainforest destruction, check out the Greenpeace report. Be sure to check labels on the products you buy to avoid palm oil as well. For a quick guide on how to cut palm oil out of your life, click here. 

To learn more about International Animal Rescue, click here.


All image source: International Animal Rescue