An orangutan has been shot with 74 airgun pellets in Indonesia, an official announced in a statement on Saturday.
Villagers in the Aceh province tipped officials about the 30-year old female orangutan, which they found severely wounded and was already in a critical condition.
“The orangutans came to a villager’s plantation and they were considered as threats by the owner who then attempted to expel the animals,” Sapto Aji Prabowo, chief of Aceh Conservation Agency, said in a statement.
Officials was quick to answer to the emergency call and rescued the animals, however, her one-month old baby, who was found with her under a jackfruit tree on the villager’s plantation, died from malnutrition.
A week after the incident, officials shared that the ape, who was named Hope, is now recovering and is getting better.
The plantation workers and villagers sometimes attack the orangutans, who they consider pests, while poachers capture them to sell as pets. There are only 100,000 orangutans in the world and they are officially declared critically endangered by the International Union for Conservative of Nature (IUCN).
“We will investigate whether this was just an incident or (if) a mafia has been involved,” said Jefrizal, the law enforcement head of Aceh Conservation Agency, who like many Indonesians, goes by one name.
Several similar reports on killing and shooting of orangutans have been known worldwide. Just last year, four Indonesian men have been arrested for the killing of another orangutan, who they shot 130 times with an air rifle.