Ten orangutans have been airlifted back to their pure habitat on Indonesia’s Borneo island, in the first launch of the apes into the wild for a 12 months due to the risks of coronavirus an infection.
The animals have been flown by helicopter throughout the island’s dense jungle earlier this month to maintain them away from days-long land and sea routes that would expose them to the virus.
Orangutans share 97 p.c of people’ DNA so conservationists have been on excessive alert for indicators of an infection. The pandemic has thrown up unprecedented challenges for conservation efforts.
“For an entire year, we have not been able to release orangutans due to the global pandemic,” stated Jamartin Sihite, chief government of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF).
“We have implemented strict health protocols, and introduced mitigation plans to be enacted in the event of an orangutan contracting the virus. The use of a helicopter… helps reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19.”
The fuzzy-haired creatures have been sedated with tranquillisers earlier than their flight and have been shuttled inside transport cages encased in netting.
At least one among the moon-faced animals banged on its cage’s steel partitions because it tried to make sense of the airborne mission.
The apes took a brief boat journey after touching down, earlier than arriving at the Bukit Batikap Protection Forest in Central Kalimantan—a part of Indonesia’s part of Borneo—the place they took to swinging on vines.
Several apes have been additionally launched into one other forest in East Kalimantan.
Poaching and habitat loss decimated the Southeast Asian nation’s orangutan inhabitants earlier than the coronavirus emerged as one other potential risk to the critically endangered species.
“If an orangutan shows symptoms of respiratory problems, it’s possible that it has been infected with Covid-19,” stated Vivi Dwi Santi, a veterinarian with BOSF.
“Also, if one of the staff tests positive… we will conduct tracing on an orangutan that’s been in contact with them.”
Indonesia covers up to defend orangutans from virus risk
© 2021 AFP
Ape escape: Indonesian orangutans airlifted back to the wild (2021, February 23)
retrieved 23 February 2021
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