Back in 2015, a baby orangutan was found in truly deplorable condition in Indonesia. The sight of the little one — stark still with his arms folded across his chest like a corpse — left even the most seasoned rescuers on the International Animal Rescuers team visibly upset and tearful over the situation.
The animal, later named Gito, was so close to death that they said he looked like a tiny mummy.
“The baby, who has been named Gito by our team, was so lifeless when we reached him that at first we thought he was dead. He was lying corpse-like with his arms folded across his chest and this, along with a lack of hair and grey flaking skin, made him look almost mummified in his cardboard coffin,” stated an IAR representative on the organization’s website.
At first, the prognosis looked beyond grim. Tragically, Gito’s mother had been killed by poachers. He was taken back to a small village in Merawa, West Borneo and kept as a pet by the head of the village.
“Gito had been bought for less than £20 from a man who had almost certainly killed his mother in order to steal and sell her baby. He was kept in a cardboard box sodden with urine and fed entirely on condensed milk. He was severely dehydrated and malnourished,” the site reads. For the equivalent of about $32, an orangutan was killed so that her baby could be sold.
Rescuers weren’t sure that Gito was going to make the 9-hour journey to the rehabilitation clinic, but the fighter pushed onward and made it. They immediately put him on an IV drip to hydrate him. It was then discovered that the little one was suffering from sarcoptic mange, which is a highly contagious skin condition that accounted for Gito’s stiff, mummy-like appearance.
According to Alan Knight, Chief Executive of International Animal Rescue, “It’s hard to stomach the shocking state Gito was in when we rescued him. Our team has seen a significant increase in the number of baby orangutans being kept as pets and some of them have only recently been taken from the wild. This is the result of the forest fires devastating Indonesia and leaving wild orangutans without food or shelter.”
Fortunately, under the watchful eye of his rehabilitators, little Gito was able to make a full recovery! While it’s certainly a success story worth nothing, rescuers state that thousands more orangutans are being lost to poaching and forest fires. Still, seeing Gito’s incredible transformation is enough to give even the most pessimistic animal lovers hope that good people are out there willing to risk their safety to help animals in need!
To learn more about Gito’s journey, be sure to check out this video from the International Animal Rescue down below.