28 Aug 2015

Orangutan attack victim back in New Zealand

8:48 pm on 28 August 2015

A man attacked by an orangutan in Indonesia is back in New Zealand recovering from a tourist trek that went wrong.

A 24-year-old female orangutan in Sumatra, Indonesia (file photo)

A 24-year-old female orangutan in Sumatra, Indonesia (file photo) Photo: AFP / Biosphoto

Binula Wickramarachchi, 27, who works as a doctor in Melbourne, was trekking in the jungle in Sumatra.

He said the orangutan, which had a baby on its back, began following him and his fellow trekkers, and then suddenly reached out and grabbed him.

"I started struggling trying to get away but they're quite a lot bigger than us," he said.

"The tour guide came up from behind it and hit it pretty hard. That knocked it over and it let go of my leg, and then we all, kind of, ran away from the scene."

Mr Wickramarachchi said, after the incident, they had to trek three hours back to their campsite, and then he was put in a raft down a river before driving to Medan Hospital where he was treated for scratches and puncture wounds.

He is now back with his family in New Zealand after a brief stay in the hospital.

The culprit is thought to be a 38-year-old wild northern Sumatra orangutan named Minah.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs