Vets turn surrogate mother for orphaned orangutan

  • 30/07/2015
Vets turn surrogate mother for orphaned orangutan

By 3 News online staff

An orphaned baby orangutan which nearly died of neglect is being cared for by vets in Borneo, who have been sleeping on the floor with him.

Vets believe baby Udin's mother was most likely killed before he was put in a cage and taken to be sold as a pet.

He was one of three other young orangutans rescued by police animal advocacy group (IAR) from villages near a palm oil plantation in West Kalimantan.

IAR found him to be severely malnourished and psychologically detached, Sky News reports.

The group has released a video of them taking care of Udin, including feeding, cuddling and sleeping with him through the night.

One volunteer said Udin tried to die several times, "but we wouldn't let him".

"We just kept interacting with him and doing lots of physiotherapy so he could not ignore us and had to learn to trust us as his sole link to survival."

Udin's condition has improved, but he still requires ongoing medical care.

IAR chief executive Alan Knight says Udin clings to a large teddy bear "just as he would have clung to his own mother in the wild".

"By the time we rescued him his mind and body were shutting down," he says.

The plantation where the orangutan babies were found is believed to have stripped the animals of their protection and shelter, making them vulnerable to hunters.

3 News