An endangered orangutan named "Hope" was left blind last week after she was shot more than 70 times with an air gun on Indonesia's Sumatra island, the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) said. Hope was severely wounded along with her month-old baby, who died.
Hope underwent surgery after being rescued in "almost dying condition" in Subulussalam, SOCP, a conservancy group dedicated to saving and protecting captive and wild Sumatran and Tapanuli orangutans, wrote in a Facebook post. Photos on the organization's Facebook page showed Hope being treated, and an X-Ray that illustrated the extent to which she was struck with air bullets.
She was found with a broken collarbone, bone fractures and permanent wounds in her eyes.
"From the medical check, sadly we found 74 air riffle bullets on her body," SOCP said. "The more heartbreaking it made her eyes damaged and totally blind."
"Hopefully Hope can pass this critical period, but she cannot be released to the wild anymore," Yenny Saraswati, a veterinarian with SOCP told The Associated Press. He also said only seven of the bullets were removed because medics were worried about her collarbone and wanted to prevent an infection.
The SOCP is worried about Hope's "mental rehabilitation" because she lost her baby while still breastfeeding. The infant orangutan died on its way to a quarantine center due to her "serious traumatic and malnourished condition."
The IUCN Red List of Endangered Species estimates less than 14,000 Sumatran orangutans remain in the wild. It considers them "critically endangered." Threats to the endangered species have increased as the palm oil and paper industries diminish its jungle habitat in Indonesia. has brought them into contact with farmers and plantation workers who kill them to protect crops, and for meat.
The human vs. nature conflict has left orangutans like 3-month-old Brenda without a home or a mother. She was confiscated from a villager by SOCP a day after Hope was rescued.
"This orphaned orangutan has to survive herself because she lost her mother in the palm oil area," SOCP wrote.