KOTA KINABALU, Sept 13 — Sabah Wildlife Department officers recently retrieved the body of a dead orangutan found floating in the Kinabatangan river riddled with bullet wounds.
Sabah Wildlife Department public relations officer Siti Nur'ain Ampuan Acheh said the body was reported drifting in the river on Tuesday morning.
A team from the Kinabatangan Wildlife Office and an honorary Wildlife Warden from a non-governmental-organisation HUTAN was immediately sent to search for the orangutan carcass.
The search team recovered the orangutan carcass the same day about 500 meters from the initial location reported.
“Based on the post-mortem result, the female orangutan, aged 30-years-old has physical wounds on its abdomen, shoulder and foot. Three gun pellets were also discovered inside its body,” she said in a statement here today.
The official cause of death is due to massive internal bleeding from the gunshots.
Nurain said the department has yet to establish why the orangutan was shot.
“A police report has been lodged and the case is being investigated under Section 25 (1) Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 for hunting animals listed in Part 1 Schedule 1.
“The Sabah Wildlife Department urges anyone with information regarding this case to contact the Officer In-Charge of Kinabatangan Wildlife Office immediately,” she said.
The last reported orangutan death was in July this year, where a semi-adult male orangutan was found dead in an orchard near the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve in Sandakan without any visible injuries.
A wildlife icon of Sabah, the orangutan population has been dwindling in the state and current surveys estimate that about 10,000 species are currently living in the Sabah’s wild, down from 20,000 in the 1980s.
Their main threat is from continuous loss of habitat due to the conversion of forests to plantations as well as forest fires during the drought season.
As more land is set aside for development and agricultural plantation, the orangutan population is set to further decrease.