Orangutan death squad in Indonesia


Two-week-old female orangutan 'Damai', meaning peace, is cared for at the Surabaya Zoo nursery on October 28, 2011 in Indonesia.



Indonesian police have arrested two men for hacking or shooting dead at least 20 endangered orangutans and proboscis monkeys, according to the AP.

The men were freelance exterminators, paid $100 for every orangutan and $20 for every bulbous-nosed proboscis monkey killed in a small region of Indonesian Borneo.

Who would pay men to kill primates? People whose palm oil plantations are damaged by meddling monkeys, according to the Jakarta Post.

Only about 60,000 orangutans still live in the wild, though their habitats are steadily diminishing as Indonesians expand farmland and other development projects.

The arrest of these exterminators is only the tip of the iceberg. A study cited by the AP suggests that more than 750 orangutans have been killed in a yearlong period in Indonesia's portion of Borneo alone.