Fire in Indonesia – level 3
This was once the home of over 200 orangutans. A forest fire has burned through at least 100 hectares of the reserve in Samboja in the East Kalimantan Province.
The orangutans have been evacuated to a safe artificial island within their sanctuary.
Firefighters are still struggling to contain the fire caused by hot weather conditions and droughts.
Although a hazardous haze has swept across the reserve, a local veterinarian said the fire, in its present state, would not threaten the lives of the apes. The main concern is the effect on the respiratory health of the mammals, as the smoke can cause upper respiratory infections.
General check-ups revealed no symptoms of the disease amongst the adult orangutans, but the worse affected are the babies due to their immature immune systems. Thirteen orangutan babies are currently receiving treatment for acute infections of the lungs and eyes.
There are no current plans to move the apes beyond the sanctuary despite the fires that are still raging across the compound.
Difficult words: artificial (made by people), sanctuary (a nature reserve), struggle (to try hard), drought (when the weather is really dry), hazardous (dangerous), haze (smoke, dust), ape (an animal like the orangutan or the chimpanzee), respiratory (relating to breathing), due to (because of), acute (serious), compound (an area with a lot of structures).
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