Orangutans are incredible animals. They share around 90 percent of the same DNA as humans, can learn how to use sign-language, they are known to fashion tools for themselves – and even make umbrellas out of leaves in the wild! On top of this, they are highly emotional and empathetic animals who share deep bonds with their friends and families. But sadly, despite all their amazing qualities, these animals are still being driven to the brink of extinction due to human actions.

In the past 10 years, the orangutan population has decreased by 50 percent, primarily because of deforestation caused by palm oil production. As their forest homes are destroyed for the sake of our consumer goods, orangutans are being forced into contact with poachers who frequently capture young animals for sale in the exotic pet trade.


Utat, the orangutan in this story is one of the sad victims of this illegal trade. When International Animal Rescue (IAR) first met Utat, she had been living as a pet for four years.

Utat was being kept alongside children as well as dogs, and fed a diet of salted fish and rice flavored with monosodium glutamate (MSG).

She suffered from sparse fur and flaking skin as a result of her improper diet, and rescuers say she smelled very bad when they first met her.

While she had been able to live freely as a small infant, now that she was getting larger, her owners planned on putting her in a wooden box to live.

While her caretakers may have had good intentions, the fact is, you can’t care for an orangutan the same as you can a dog. These animals require proper food and conditions to thrive. 

Thankfully, now that she is in the care of IAR, Utat will finally get the proper care she needs. 

IAR explained that Utat is now safe at their rescue center and is currently undergoing a required period of quarantine. Vets have noted that she is very smart and loves being given leaves and foliage as enrichment. The prognosis looks positive so far, and we certainly hope that in time she will be able to thrive in the company of her fellow orangutans.

All image source: IAR/Facebook