Indonesian Activists Rescue Rare Albino Orangutan

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Rare Albino Orangutan (Photo Credit: BOSF via Facebook)

On April 29, officials at the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) received a tip from the local police chief that some villagers in Indonesia’s West Kalimantan province were holding a Bornean orangutan captive. When the rescue team arrived at the Tanggirang village they discovered that instead of the signature orange-reddish brown hair, the great ape had white hair, a paler skin color, and blue eyes. The mammal was also very sensitive to light.

A preliminary examination by medical experts revealed that the great ape is an extremely rare albino orangutan. This is the first such specimen encountered by the non-profit since it was founded to conserve the endangered Bornean orangutan and its habitat 25 years ago. The five-year-old female, who was in captivity for two days before being rescued, is currently undergoing health tests at the foundation’s rehabilitation center. Officials say they will decide on whether to release the great ape back into the wild or keep her at the center, which currently houses almost 750 orangutans, once they are assured she is healthy.

Photo Credit: BOSF via Facebook

Orangutans are the only members of the great ape family which includes gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos, that are endemic to Asia, not Africa. They are also the only great apes that spend most of their lives in trees, making them the largest tree-living mammal in the world. Unfortunately, the population of both species of orangutans – Bornean and Sumatran — has declined sharply over the past few decades. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates that there are currently just over 100,000 Bornean orangutans and less than 7,500 Sumatran orangutans left in the wild.

The drastic population decline is largely due to the loss of habitat as Indonesia’s rainforests continue to be destroyed to make room for palm oil plantations. Hopefully, the ongoing efforts by organizations like BOSF will ensure that these intelligent, gentle giants, who share nearly 97% of their DNA with humans, do not disappear altogether.

Resources: worldwildlife.org, orangutan.or.id, orangutan.com

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354 Comments
  • lionfireball
    lionfireballFriday, October 25, 2019 at 8:14 am
    wow
    • maximilianTuesday, September 17, 2019 at 1:35 pm
      perfect article for homework assignment
      • goinggreengirlSunday, September 23, 2018 at 6:23 pm
        love this article!
        • girls.girlsTuesday, September 11, 2018 at 6:41 am
          this will be perfect for my new article in school tomorrow as a presentation. :D
          • yoloness5 5Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 10:51 am
            wow i am glad that they are safe! well that one
            • JupeterWednesday, May 16, 2018 at 8:39 am
              0.0. They might go extinct? But I LOVE orangutans! Man, that story taught me a lot!
              • VinnyprimatefanFriday, May 4, 2018 at 9:45 am
                I hope the orangutans will not go extinct
                • dudeWednesday, April 25, 2018 at 11:03 am
                  how so rare? I love orangutans
                  • just chillenThursday, March 29, 2018 at 2:41 pm
                    wow
                    • arcticwolf5
                      arcticwolf5Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at 7:22 pm
                      So glad it got saved!