Magazine article Geographical

Learning to Swing: A Team of British Tree Surgeons Are Heading to the Indonesian Island of Sumatra Next Month to Help Rescue Endangered Orang-Utans from the Rainforest

Magazine article Geographical

Learning to Swing: A Team of British Tree Surgeons Are Heading to the Indonesian Island of Sumatra Next Month to Help Rescue Endangered Orang-Utans from the Rainforest

Article excerpt

The tree surgeons, who normally spend their days felling trees, will head to Medan in northern Sumatra to teach a local team of orang-utan rescuers basic tree-climbing skills. It is in a bid to save more of the primates, as their numbers plummet.

The Sumatran rescue team, known as the Human Orang-utan Conflict Response Unit, was set up in 2010. They travel across Sumatra rescuing orang-utans that have become stuck in limited areas of forest, something that happens as surrounding trees are felled for logging or to make space for palm oil plantations.

Although they are a protected species, scientists say that around 1,000 orang-utans are poached each year, either for the pet trade or, worse, to be eaten.

Rescuers can spend days tracking orang-utans from the ground, waiting for a vet to be able to fire an anaesthetic dart safely at the animal. The primates are then caught as they fall from the trees and later returned I to larger areas of forest. …

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