Two teenagers who shot an orangutan 74 times and left her baby to die have been told to recite prayers as punishment.
The animal, named Hope, was blinded in the senseless attack which involved an air rifle, and her baby died as a result. Because of the shooting, Hope, who is 30 years old, can never again be released into the wild.
Authorities in Aceh, Indonesia, sentenced the two high school students with a community sentence, which involved them reciting evening prayers for a month.
Many have voiced their fury over the ‘lenient’ sentence passed by authorities, which sees Ade Irfanta Sitepu, 17, and Salinsyah Solin, 16, escape prison time.
The two teenagers were accused of carrying out the atrocious act, however despite ruling them guilty, a meeting of officials decided they should only be given community service.
Sitepu and Solin were ordered to clean the local mosque, recite evening prayers for a month, and apologise for their crime – which saw the four-week-old baby orangutan die because its mum was unable to feed, leading the animal to become malnourished.
A team of rescuers did manage to save Hope, treating her open wounds and performing surgery to fix her broken collarbone. According to a vet, the orangutan also had a number of injuries believed to have been deliberately caused by sharp objects.
Hope was left with 64 pellets in her body after the attack, after medics ruled that removing them could do irreversible damage to her health.
According to the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP), orangutans are listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as Critically Endangered, with there now being only around 14,000 orangutans in Sumatra.
SOCP say pellet and air guns are easily available in the region, and often used to shoot and kill wildlife throughout Indonesia.
The matter was not sent to court, angering animal activists who said this lenient sentencing could encourage further attacks against orangutans.
Panut Hadisiswoyo, of the Sumatra Lestari Orangutan Foundarion (YOSL-OIC), said:
We are urging the National Police chief to hand over the Hope shooting case to the Attorney General’s Office so that the juvenile justice system can be applied.
Vet Yenny Saraswati, who has been caring for Hope at the Batu Mbelin Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, described the decision as ‘shocking’ but said he would leave the decision to the authorities because his priority is Hope.
We hope Hope makes a quick recovery.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).