Budi the baby orangutan spent the early portion of his life much like how a lot of baby animals in Indonesia end up these days - in a cage with someone ill-prepared to raise him. Budi spent the first ten months of his life locked in a chicken cage on a diet of condensed milk and with only a light blanket to keep him warm.
When his owner decided that he was extremely ill, he traveled ten hours to his rescuers at the International Animal Rescue's (IAR) Orangutan Rescue Center in Ketapang, Borneo. It is there where the baby got international media attention that raised $75,000 for the orangutan's care and rehabilitation.
Budi was brought in severely malnourished and anemic from a diet that lacked basic nutrition, like protein, that would have helped him grow. His body was so swollen with fluids that anytime Budi was touched, he cried out in excruciating pain. Due to the lack of nutrition, Budi now also suffers from a metabolic disease that has caused malformed bones.
Some may blame Budi's previous owner, but he is sadly one of many victims in Indonesia. Due to the mass deforestation of Indonesia to make way for palm oil and other crop fields, orangutans and other native wildlife are losing their homes. Some resettle, while others are sold on the illegal trade market. Young orangutans as well as other species of apes and monkeys all are likely to end up with new owners that have no idea how to care for them, many die within weeks or are set free in area in which they have no social connections or any idea how to live on their own.
Budi's story, however, has a happy ending. He has shown remarkable improvement in the arms of his skilled caretakers and now eats pureed food from a spoon, although he has not yet learned how to chew, but he can now sit up on his own. Budi will need six more years of care before he is able to be freed in the wilds, providing there are still any wilds left in Indonesia.