Heartrending moment tiny, terrified orangutan baby is plucked to safety after he and his mother were found starving


At risk: A distressed baby orangutan is picked up by a charity worker as he and his mother are taken to safety from an isolated patch of forest in Sumatra caused by the spread of oil plantations

Wide-eyed in fright, a baby orangutan tries his best to escape the clutches of a looming man.
He and his mother have been threatened with starvation by the expansion of palm oil plantations which are destroying their natural habitat in the Sumatran forest.
It's no surprise the sight of yet more humans has terrified them, but these ones have arrived to take them to safety.

Cruel to be kind: The mother is attended to by medics after being tranquilised up a tree and falling into a net while clutching her baby

The pair were found by rescuers in an isolated patch of woodland which was due to be cleared for more plantations.
More orangutans are being cut off, putting them at risk of food shortages or being captured for the pet trade.
Hanna Adcock was making a film for the UK charity Orangutan SOS when their partner organisation, the Orangutan Information Centre’s Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit attempted the relocation in Aceh, North Sumatra.
She said: 'The safest way to save these animals is to tranquilize them and relocated them to a safe area.

Tricky operation: The rescuers had to track the orangutans through the trees before picking the right place and time to fire the tranquiliser gun

'In this instance, the team first had to track and find the orangutan and move them to safer, less-dense area in order to be tranquilised.
'Rescues often take a long time and they are extremely tiring as the team have to keep up pace on the ground through streams, mud and vines whilst the orangutan swing quickly in the canopy trees.
'The team make noises to try and steer the orangutan into their desired location and there were spotters on the ground and up in the hills in order to ensure that we didn’t lose her.'

Conflict of two species: The mother had two air rifle bullets under her skin, suggesting she had already been in contact with hostile humans

When the team finally got the chance, they shot the mother with a tranquiliser gun, but it took little effect so they had to wait until she tired enough to hit her again, this time with a blow pipe.
Hanna said: 'The mother was aggressive and struggled to hold on with everything she could as she grew weaker in the tree.

Ravaged: Experts believe around two million hectares of forest cover are burned down or cleared for oil plantations in Indonesia each year

'As she was carrying a young male baby, the team believed she resisted falling and letting go even more as she thought that the fall would kill the baby.
'The team positioned themselves underneath her on a steep hill carrying a large net, moving together in order to predict where she might fall.
'Eventually, the struggle was too much for the mother and she fell into the net.'

source: dailymail