Orangutan dies from injuries
Published on: Tuesday, July 28, 2015
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Kota Kinabalu: The 20-year-old male orangutan that was attacked by an Indonesian oil palm plantation worker died nearly two weeks after undergoing intensive medical treatment at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Quarantine and Clinic facility in Sandakan on Sunday.Veterinarians and other medical experts did everything they could to save the orangutan named by wildlife officials as Gedau after Ladang Gedau, Beluran, about 65km from Sandakan, where it was found lying near an oil palm tree by plantation workers on July 13.

"(But) I regret to say that we have lost the poor injured orangutan due to severe complication, initially caused by the savage attack by the plantation worker," said a sad State Wildlife Director, William Baya.

Gedau was found with a long slash wound on his back caused by a parang (machete) as well as several smaller wounds on his head.

Baya said Gedau seemed to be improving after receiving medical treatment for the first few days and was reported to have been able to eat a banana.

Unfortunately, he said when Gedau was further observed and monitored it became obvious that the parang wound to the back was so deep that it had punctured the air sac, causing a severe infection.

The air sac is a loose pouch located around the throat of the orangutan for vocalising.

"Even with all our expert care and medical treatment the results of the post mortem confirmed that the orangutan died of an acute and severe septicaemia caused by the initial parang wound and also the smaller secondary wounds that were probably caused by the same parang," said Baya.

With the death of the orangutan, he said the case has now escalated to "a killing (murder) of a fully protected species."

"I have directed my Prosecution Officer to discuss this case with the court to consider appealing for a much heavier punishment to be meted out to the orangutan killer," said Baya.

Last Friday, an Indonesian, Syam bin Sul, aged 38, was sentenced to 12 months behind bars by the Sandakan Magistrate's Court after admitting to wounding the orangutan with a machete because he claimed the orangutan tried to chase him while he was on his way back to his kongsi from work.

The charge was framed under Section 37 of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997, which provides for a penalty of a fine of RM20,000 or imprisonment for two years or both for causing reckless injury to protected animals.

The maximum penalty for killing a fully protected species under Schedule One of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment is five years' jail or a RM50,000 fine or both upon conviction.


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