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TWO TRAGEDIES WITHIN TWO DAYS The SOCP veterinarian and Dr Andreas Messikommer are performing surgery on the female orangutan «Hope» Full view


Orangutan «Hope» was brought to our rescue and rehabilitation centre with 74 air pellets in her body.Just one day later, the infant «Brenda» came to us with a broken arm. A surgeon flew to Sumatra on our behalf, in order to help those two animals.

An enormous area of rainforest in Southeast Asia is cleared in order to plant palm oil monocultures. Thus, numerous animals and plants lose their habitat, such as the orangutan. This is also the fate of the female orangutan “Hope”. Last week, she was found with severe injuries and rescued. Humans who feared for their harvest probably came into conflict with the starving animal and tried to scare her off with an air rifle or even tried to harm her. The result was dramatic: The orangutan was hit by 74 bullets, lost its eyesight on both eyes, broke its collarbone and got several infections from the severe injuries. According to the vet, its condition was very serious when she arrived at our centre.

Just one day later, another mistreated orangutan came to the centre. “Brenda”, who is only three months old, was rescued as an illegally kept pet and brought to our centre with a broken humerus. The human orthopaedist Dr Andreas Messikommer flew from Western Switzerland to Sumatra in order to help those two orangutans. Yesterday (17.03.2019), he performed surgery on both of them. The orthopaedist has already travelled 15 times to the rescue and rehabilitation centre in order to perform difficult surgeries there. His work is voluntary. To that he says: “I am happy, when I can help. It is always beautiful to hear that the orangutans I’ve treated are recovering. Of course, some fates are really shocking, like the case of “Hope”. All the more beautiful is it when the animals can live again freely in the rainforest. Fortunately, some of them even produce offspring and therefore help to preserve their species. To be a part of this process is incredible.”

The future prospects of the two orangutans are good. Dr Yenni Saraswati, the Senior veterinarian in the rescue and rehabilitation centre, says: “According to the circumstances, the surgeries went well. At the moment, it is too early to make a final judgement but we hope for a fast and uncomplicated recovery. Although “Hope” will never be able to live in the wild again, she may live freely on an island in the “Orangutan Haven”. For “Brenda” it looks even better. If her development and health are in perfect condition, nothing gets her in the way to live freely in the tropical rainforest.

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