Second Chance For Blind Orangutan

A blind Bornean orangutan, who was rescued from an oil-palm plantation, may have her sight restored and live in the wild again. The Orangutan Foundation have been caring for the orangutan, named Aan, since 2012 when she was found with 104 air rifle pellets in her, 37 lodged in her head. A three-hour operation removed 32 of the pellets but she was left blind which meant she couldn’t be returned to the wild.

Close up of Aan's face

 

An ophthalmic surgeon, Claudia Hartley, visited Aan to assess the permanence of her blindness. On examination, the ophthalmologist discovered there is a very high chance of restoring sight to one of Aan’s eyes. Claudia Hartley will return to Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, with colleagues and specialist equipment in February 2017. They will operate to remove a cataract and, if successful, Aan will be returned to the wild, despite still being blind in one eye.

Claudia examining Aan's eye

 

Aan is currently living in a purpose-built enclosure in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, which is where she will also hopefully begin her transition to living wild again. The Orangutan Foundation actively protect the forests and precious wildlife within with guard posts and river patrols. This year, an extension to the Reserve was agreed by the Indonesian Government, adding an area the size of Guernsey to the protected forests. At a time when orangutans are critically endangered, due to habitat loss, this is a conservation success story.

 

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