Perhaps you’ve heard of Gito, a baby orangutan recently found abandoned on the side of the road in Borneo. Left to die alone in a dirty box in the direct sun, little Gito, as his rescuers are calling him, is critically ill, suffering from a highly contagious parasitic skin infection known as sarcoptic mange. Upon first glance, the baby orangutan appears to be dead, until his eyes slowly open and look up at you. Anyone who sees this doesn’t know which is worse: the fact that he looks dead or that he is alive and in this deplorable condition, which appears to be almost worse than death itself. Gito’s grey, scaly arms — almost completely devoid of hair — are folded across his chest, making him resemble a small mummy in this state. Earlier in the disease process, when Gito still had the strength to scratch off the endlessly flaking skin, the itching and pain associated with it must have been unbearable.
After he was found, the team of rescuers from International Animal Rescue rushed the juvenile primate to their treatment center for immediate care. He was put on a drip to combat the dehydration and malnutrition he suffered from and a course of medication to treat his severe skin infection. Once that was started, the group of caring volunteers and professionals began massaging coconut oil into his skin to try and soften it and relieve the intense discomfort he was experiencing from the parasites. Because sarcoptic mange is highly contagious, the poor little guy must be quarantined until he has fully recovered from his traumatic experience. Then it is up to the center what happens to Gito. He will in all likelihood be adopted by or sent to live at a wildlife center or animal preserve, if he cannot successfully be released back into the wild.
No one knows exactly how Gito came to be in this sad state. It’s assumed his mother was killed and he was then taken into captivity after being ripped from her arms. He was presumably fed purely on condensed milk — a common mistake among people hoping to revive or feed abandoned and orphaned animals. Pasteurized cow's milk and canned condensed milk are not close enough to a nursing animal’s own milk. Goat's milk can sometimes be used, if you’re in a real pinch, but it’s always best to seek the help of a professional on these matters. While people have good intentions, in most cases they end up doing more harm than good for the creature they are trying to care for. This could have been the case with Gito. We will probably never know for sure but, he was in such a weakened condition when he was found, he’s lucky to be alive.
International Animal Rescue isn’t just for wild or exotic animals in foreign countries. The group does work all over the world. They are made up of vets and nurses, both professional and volunteer. Their work at saving animals has made a difference in the lives of countless creatures around the globe. They provide dog and cat rescue efforts along with birds and other assorted wildlife. They run on donations from people like you and me, and they do a tremendous job at bringing animal awareness to the outside world. If you’re interested in learning more about their work, finding out how you can help, or even getting a job as an animal rescue member, you can go to their website International Animal Rescue for more information.