Rare Albino Orangutan Rescued From Kalimantan Jungle

It's the first one ever seen in the jungles of Borneo.

02 May 2017, 12:20pm

Foto cortesía de la Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation

An albino orangutan, the first of its kind discovered in Indonesia, was rescued from a jungle village in Central Kalimantan last week by the nonprofit Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation.

The female orangutan, which has no pigmentation and is sensitive to light, was briefly caged in Desa Tenggirang, in Kapuas, Central Kalimantan, after it was found walking around the village. The animal was unharmed, but rescue staff felt that it was too dangerous to leave it in care of the villagers.

"We were worried that its unique condition would endanger its life," said Nico Hermanu, the spokesman for the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation. "There were no marks of abuse or torture. The orangutan was in a vulnerable state but generally healthy. It did show a little wild behavior."

The orangutan was transported to the nonprofits rehabilitation center in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan. The animal will be checked for disease and monitored for a few weeks before it's released into the wild, Nico explained. The organization's veterinary staff said the orangutan was suffering from dehydration and was infected with parasitic worms.

It was around five years old and far too young to be left alone, said Nico.

"We don't know how the orangutan, at its age, could be separated from its mother," he said. "There's a possibility that she was learning to live on her own."

It's unknown if there are more albino orangutan in the jungles of Kalimantan, Nico explained. Female orangutan have babies every eight months, and albinism is genetic, so a second one would likely have to come from the same mother or father.

The orangutan will remain in quarantine until vets give her a clean bill of health. Then it will be introduced to the center's 700 or so other orangutan before being reintroduced to the wild.

"We think the quarantine would do her good," Nico said. "In the facility, not everyone can come in. They have to go through a health examination [before being allowed to enter quarantine]."