Wildlife flee East Kotawaringin forest fires

Wildlife flee East Kotawaringin forest fires

A pangolin was rescued by inhabitants of Ketapang, Central Kalimantan, as the animal fled forest fires, on Oct 5, 2019. (ANTARA/Central Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Office/ FA)

Last weekend, we received a pangolin from a local inhabitant. The pangolin entered the village to look for food. Bushes surrounding the residential area were gutted
Palangka Raya, C Kaliman (ANTARA) - Forest fires in East Kotawaringin District, Central Kalimantan Province, have compelled wildlife to flee to safer areas with pangolins and orangutans entering residential areas in search of food and clean air.

"Last weekend, we received a pangolin from a local inhabitant. The pangolin entered the village to look for food. Bushes surrounding the residential area were gutted," Muriansyah, of the Central Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Office, said in Sampit Friday.

The pangolin (manis javanica) entered a housing complex in Mentawa Baru, Ketapang Sub-district, on Oct 5, 2019 evening.

Several local inhabitants spotted the protected animal and reported it to the conservation office, which later released the pangolin into the Lamandau District sanctuary.

During the dry season that triggered forest fires, the conservation office had also managed to rescue and relocate five orangutans (pongo pygmaeus) in Bagendang Hilir Village, North Mentaya Hilir Sub-district.

The endangered orangutans comprising one adult male, two females and a baby, were rescued on separate occasions in September and October this year.

The orangutans also fled as their habitat was burned down by forest fires and entered residential areas to look for food. In Central Kalimantan, tens of orangutans contracted respiratory ailments due to the smog produced by forest fires.

A sun bear (Helarctos malayanus) was also recently spotted in Sampit, East Kotawaringin. Several pythons were incinerated in the forest fires in Central Kalimantan.

In the meantime, wildfires ravaging forest areas in Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, and South Kalimantan have produced smog that suffocated not only millions of people in those provinces and neighboring Malaysia but also animals.

Human beings and animals have been suffering the most, as forests on the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan are home to varied flora and fauna, including endangered animals, such as the Sumatran tigers, Sumatran elephants, and orangutans.

Related news: Jokowi's visit to forest fire-ravaged Central Kalimantan shelved
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Related news: Dozens of orangutans afflicted with acute respiratory tract infection


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