An orangutan was on a miraculous road to recovery yesterday after she was shot more than 100 times with an airgun.
The great ape, named Aan, was attacked by sick locals who were fed up with her roaming around an oil plantation in Borneo, Indonesia.
She was rescued by a team from the Orangutan Foundation and the Indonesian Agency for Conservation of Natural Resources.
And these horrifying X-rays show the extent of the sustained attack – with vets finding 104 pellets scattered all over her vital organs, eyes and ears.
Dr Zulfiqri, a veterinarian from the British-based Orangutan Foundation, removed 32 of the pellets lodged in her body and head during a three-hour surgery at the BKSDA-Kalteng office in Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan.
The brave orangutan is now recovering at the Orangutan Foundation Veterinary Facility where she is taking food and water and “showing an incredible resilience against all she has undergone”.
But Aan is now blind with scans showing a dozen pellets lodged in and around her eyes – meaning food and water must be touched or placed in her hands.
The foundation says it is now unlikely Aan will ever be released back into the wild because she will be an easy target for hunters and angry farmers who view orangutans as pests.
Her story is another tragic example of the plight faced by orangutans in the wild as they have their habitat destroyed.
Despite being protected by law, orangutans live in rainforests which are being destroyed through logging and conversion to oil-palm plantations.
It is hoped her experience will help raise awareness of the cruel situation suffered by orangutans in the wild – and encourage tough punishments on those who hunt and kill the endangered animals.
Earlier this year four men were sent to jail for eight months for shooting and beating to death three orangutans and long-nosed monkeys in East Kalimantan.
Mr Hartono, head of the local conservation agency, said: “I hope that Aan will now feel more comfortable being in the forest living in a large holding cage.
“We will work together with the Orangutan Foundation to find the best way so that Aan can continue to live.”
Ashley Leiman OBE, director of the Orangutan Foundation added: “We have worked in Borneo over 20 years and have never had to rescue three orangutans in four days.
“The reasons for the increase could be due to the rapid loss of orangutan habitat or it could be because more people are reporting orangutans to the wildlife department whereas before they would have killed them.”