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HOPEFUL UNTIL THE END Seroja was a lively orangutan-lady, who fought hard after each operation and recovered (almost) every time. In this picture you can see her swollen stomach (Nov 2018). Full view


Unfortunately, not always is good fortune with the orangutans on our station. Sometimes, fate is double hard on them: This is the sad story of the female orangutan “Seroja”.

Seroja’s story in our Sumatran orangutan conservation program starts in 2011. The one year old orangutan was confiscated after being illegally kept as a pet and taken to our rescue and rehabilitation station.

One year later, in November 2016, the veterinarians noticed for the first time that Seroja had a cystic ovary. They removed it successfully and the animal recovered. However, Seroja fell sick soon after and had to undergo another operation: This time, an umbilical hernia had to be treated. She recovered again but soon, her health worsened again. The diagnosis was shattering: malignant cysts and a lot of fluids in her stomach.

In summer 2018, with two operation the cysts were removed. Each time, it seemed like Seroja recovered fast. Soon, she ate and played again and therefore, she could return to her playfellows in the socialization cage. Shortly after, her carers recognized that her stomach had swollen again. Once again, the animal was sedated and operated. The veterinarians made a terrifying discovery: The stomach held a lot of fluids and a yet undefined mass. The removal weakened the orangutan-lady noticeably and further investigations of the removed mass revealed bad news: It was cancer. Last year in December, her condition got worse, the cancer grew and Seroja got weaker and weaker. On the 16th of January, the orangutan-lady lost her fight against the cancer.

This story shows us that despite all our efforts, we cannot save all the orangutans. We hope that Seroja’s story will not repeat itself in the near future.

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