This story -- and the photos that came with it -- had me weeping into my coffee this morning. I dare you not to tear up, at least a little. Two baby orangutans have experienced a terrible loss. Their mother was killed when the part of the forest where they live was gutted to harvest palm oil. Rescuers came across the two little guys who were traumatized, injured, and extremely malnourished, hoping they would be able to nurse them back to health.
While they've been able to heal their external injuries, they can't change the past for these two brothers. The grief shows on their faces. While they are exceptionally fortunate to have each other and to have been rescued, their future is an uncertain and sad one. You'd think losing their mother in such a ghastly way would be bad enough. But what's waiting for them back in their native home is enough to make you sick.
Like all rescue organizations, the team caring for these young orangutans hope to someday be able to return them to the wild. First, they need to make sure they are old enough and strong enough to be on their own out there. But there are things beyond even a top-notch rescue team's power. Poachers often kill orangutans, and these little guys could be healthy only to be brutally killed by poachers once they are returned to the wild.
It's such a tough thing to combat. On the one hand, it seems cruel to do anything else to rock the world of these young babies who have just -- most likely -- seen their mother murdered. But if releasing them back into the wild means sending them off to certain death, aren't the orangutans better off staying in captivity where they will be nurtured and cared for and spared the machetes of the poachers? Ugh, still, I hate to see any animal in a cage. So sad.
Do you think the orangutans should stay in captivity?
Images via Getty