Conservationists Rescue Rare White Orangutan In Borneo

The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation said she is the first albino orangutan they've ever encountered. BOS Foundation

An incredibly rare orangutan with light blonde hair and blue eyes has been rescued in Borneo.

The rescue, by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, took place on April 29 after it received information from the Kapuas Hulu Chief of Police. According to a statement issued by the foundation, the 5-year-old female ape was held captive by residents of a remote village in Kapuas Regency, Borneo for two days.

The foundation also said this is the first albino orangutan they have ever encountered, describing her as "sensitive to light". Albinism is a genetic condition that results in a complete absence of melanin, the pigment that gives color to skin and hair, while an organism with only a diminished amount of melanin is usually described as leucistic. Although it's noticeable the orangutan has blue eyes, it is often hard to differentiate the two.

“Once we have fully assessed her health and physical status we will review the best possible strategies for her long-term welfare and conservation,” the statement said. “Our job is to make sure we act in the best interests of every orangutan we rescue.“

Even in their usual bright-orange get up, the Bornean orangutan is considered “critically endangered” by the IUNC Red List, the last step away from being extinct in the wild. It’s thought that 2,000 to 3,000 orangutans are killed every year in Indonesian Borneo. The remaining population of approximately 100,000 are subject to continued poaching and loss of habitat from deforestation.

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