23 January 2010

Meet Nicky

Spanish volunteer Paloma introduces Nicky, a rescued orangutan at International Animal Rescue's transit centre in Ketapang, West Kalimantan.

NickyNicky is a female of about 6 years old. We took her in in April 2009. A family had bought her and when she started to grow they left her running loose around the family property.

Nicky was rescued from her life in the city and taken to the centre to learn to live like an orangutan.

Now Nicky shares an enclosure with Mona and she likes to play using the sacks we give them for enrichment and to hide inside one of them while Mona tries to get her out.

She loves interacting with her next door neighbours Jojo and Jingo too. They play together all the time, trying to catch each other's hands through the bars and passing one another branches or other enrichment materials through the bars.

16 January 2010

Researcher in the rainforest

UK researcher Richard Moore is working with our team in Java to study the viability of returning captive lorises to the wild.

Rescued Slow lorisSo far, I have spent much time observing the captive lorises and have compiled a very detailed ethogram of their behavioural repertoire. This I have now printed out onto various behavioural sheets in English - for me, and in Indonesian - for the keepers (and hopefully soon for me too!) I have been going through the behaviours with the keepers and teaching them how to collect behavioural data. I think in another few days we will be ready to start the official data collection (although I have already collected a fair amount myself).

I am waiting for maps of the mountain from someone Karmele knows, so that we can find suitable areas to conduct both botanical surveys and nocturnal loris surveys. This will enable us to assess a suitable area for the potential release. I am also planning (if possible) to conduct a similar botanical survey at another site where lorises are known to occur, so as to gain an idea of the suitability of the forest on the mountain.

Richard and the teamWe have had a couple of walks up the mountain in order to assess what is possible in terms of survey methods - and I am looking into conducting the rather novel, yet increasingly popular sampling method known as Patch occupancy. This will be combined with standard transects for comparison. I actually met tonight with a man in Bogor to discuss how to go about doing this. It seems a viable method of surveying when the terrain is so uncompromising. But I will keep you updated on this front.

Whilst up the mountain I collected GPS points, which I have now successfully transferred into ARCGIS, and overlaid a vegetation map (although I am hoping the new map will be a more updated version). Using this programme I will be able to map the whereabouts of the collared lorises and calculate their home range sizes, daily path lengths and any social behaviour. It is a complex programme but I seem to be making good headway with its capabilities.

15 January 2010

Helen learns to trust us

Volunteer Paloma updates us on how Helen the baby orangutan is progressing at International Animal Rescue's transit centre in Ketapang, West Kalimantan. Helen was rescued from plantation workers in Borneo, after she was found hogtied to a pole and having suffered cruel beatings.

Helen the baby orangutanHelen is doing a lot better than she was a month ago: in the beginning she was very scared and aggressive after all the trauma she had suffered, but we have been working with her to build up her confidence in us and gradually getting closer to her each day, and now she is lovely!

I sometimes play with her through the bars of the enclosure and she likes to put my hands on her head, and sometimes just takes my hands and rests her head in my hands. She is getting a bit overweight too, which is why I try to play with her every day so that she gets some exercise. She loves the different kinds of environmental enrichment we provide and they keep her busy for hours!

» Read about Helen's rescue

11 January 2010

Meet Mona

Spanish volunteer Paloma introduces Mona, a rescued orangutan at International Animal Rescue's transit centre in Ketapang, West Kalimantan.

Mona the orangutanMona is a female of about 9 years old who arrived at the transit centre in January 2009 and she has been here ever since because all the rehabilitation centres were full - and still are.

A family bought her when she was a baby and she lived with them until she was rescued. She was in the garden of the house, tied by a chain to a metal collar with a lock.

When she was rescued it was really difficult to get the collar off her.

Mona has been at the centre longer than any other orangutan, and she managed to open her old cage on numerous occasions.

Mona the orangutanShe has some human habits like washing her arms when we give her a bin full of water.

She is very observant too and her eyes are always looking at the movements we make when we prepare or we put new enrichments in the cage and later she tries to take it apart and many times we have seen her using branches or enrichment material to try to open the lock on the old cage.

Right now she is enjoying the extra space in the new enclosures that have been built recently and she plays a lot with Nicky, the orangutan in with her. She is very curious too about the new neighbours Jojo and Jingo but so far she is content just to watch them without actually interacting with them.