In 2014, International Animal Rescue told the story of Bujing, an orangutan who had been taken from his home and sold as a pet when he was just a baby.
The orangutan’s owners took good care of Bujing while he was a cute, small, manageable baby. But as he grew in size and strength, the people who once loved him didn’t know how to handle him.
So his owners resorted to chaining him up outside their house without consistent meals, and Bujing started escaping and eating the neighbor’s food.
Days of neglect turned into chronic abuse.
Bujing lived in a constant state of starvation, so severe he began to lose hair from malnourishment.
When the rescue team from IAR arrived, they were “very alarmed” at Bujing’s condition.
“Bujing was extremely malnourished and emaciated,” IAR public relations and communications manager Lis Key told The Dodo.
“It’s hard to imagine that he could have survived for very much longer in that condition.”
The rescue team convinced Bujing’s owners to surrender the orangutan, reminding them that having a pet orangutan is illegal.
Bujing had suffered two deep wounds on his back, adding to the severity of his poor physical condition.
“While we’re relieved to have removed him from his shocking situation, it’s upsetting to think of him living like that for so long,” Key said.
Once he made it to the rehabilitation center, Bujing began the long road to physical and emotional recovery.
“Bujing was first put in quarantine, which is standard procedure for all new arrivals at our rehabilitation center,” Key explained. “He was kept there for eight weeks while tests were run to ensure he wasn’t suffering from any contagious diseases.
“During that time he received nutritious food and supplements to improve his very poor physical condition. His feeding regime had to be carefully regulated because he was in such a severe state of malnourishment.”
According to The Dodo, after four years, Bujing has grown into a strong, muscular, healthy orangutan.
“Thanks to the care of our veterinary team and the keepers at our rehabilitation center, Bujing’s appearance has changed almost beyond recognition,” Key said. “His body is strong, muscular — and hairy!”
The rescue center does plan to release Bujing back into the wild, but not until he is completely ready.
“He will be ready for release once he is consistently displaying all the natural behaviors he will need to survive in the wild,” Key said.
“A team is currently monitoring him and gathering data on his behavior, and his progress is under constant assessment to make sure he will be fully equipped mentally and physically for life back in the forest.”
Bujing’s caretakers are encouraged to see how far the orangutan has come, and look forward to the day they celebrate his return home to the wild.
“Bujing is making excellent progress on his lengthy journey back to his rightful home in the rainforest, and it is really uplifting to see how well he is doing,” Key said.
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