Life saving orangutan surgeries

The team at our BORA orangutan rescue and rehabilitation centre in East Kalimantan has been working tirelessly over the last few months to save and care for two adult male orangutans with horrific injuries.


The BORA rescue team on a mission to save Talian

There was no rest on New Years Day for the BORA Rescue team. Talian was rescued on 1 January 2024 in East Kutai, East Kalimantan. There had been reports circulating of a large male orangutan with a facial injury begging for food near a busy road. Our BORA rescue team travelled hundreds of kilometres to rescue this male and bring him to the safety of the BORA clinic.  He had a serious tear wound on his left upper lip, which was inflamed, and dead tissue was present. He also had a deep, ulcerated wound on his left check pad. He underwent an immediate medical procedure where the wounds were flushed and sutured. He had also suffered trauma to his left eye, with the eyelid being torn, and the left eyeball was white. He was assessed as being blind in this eye.

Talian was given long-acting antibiotics and pain relief medication. Thankfully, Talian was active and had a good appetite after the surgery. He was also understandably, aggressive towards the BORA staff. He is making excellent progress, and the wound has healed well considering.

Adul was rescued on 14 March.  His left leg had suffered a traumatic injury, most likely from a machete and was severely dislocated. Due to the severity of this injury, tragically, Adul’s leg needed to be amputated. A specialist orthopaedic veterinary surgeon was flown in from West Java to lead this complex surgery. X-rays showed that Adul was also riddled with 14 air rifle pellets, and as suspected from his behaviour and looks, he was blind in both eyes. One eye has ulcers, and the other eye has ‘phthisis bulbi’, which is a clinical condition representing end-stage ocular response to severe eye injury or disease damage related to a variety of causes. The team was exhausted after the long surgery.

The BORA veterinary team is now consulting with another orangutan specialist veterinarian to discuss the condition of his eyes and whether surgery is an option to possibly restore some vision. Adul has not only suffered severe physical trauma, but his world is now a scary and unknown place with his loss of sight. The orangutan keepers and veterinary staff are working closely with Adul to make him feel more comfortable and understand his new world including being hand fed and having his recovery cage cleaned. Thankfully, his amputation site is healing well, and he was put on a strong antibiotics to help prevent infection.

These rescues have been very confronting, and the BORA team have shown their professionalism, dedication, and compassion in looking after Talian and Adul in their time of great need. Thanks to our generous donors, we can fully fund these rescues and cover the costs of specialists to help these innocent orangutan victims.


BORA is an alliance between the Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP) and The Orangutan Project. COP works under the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

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