28 June 2010

Huta finds three's company in Ketapang

Volunteer Paloma updates us on Huta's new living arrangements at International Animal Rescue's emergency centre in Ketapang, West Kalimantan.

Mona, Huta and Nicky the rescued orangutansHuta, the orangutan who was rescued in March, has been placed in a cage with Mona and Nicky, two orangutans of similar age. They all seem to be getting on well, particularly Huta and Mona, who will often play together, chasing each other, laughing and hugging. Thankfully their play isn't as rough as Jojo and Jingo's!

Nicky and Huta also get on, although Nicky has assumed a more dominant role, and often takes Huta's food. To make sure Huta gets her fair share, we try to feed them separately and make sure each gets enough. If things between them get too serious, Mona always steps in, playing the big sister role.

A similar thing has happened with enrichment, with Nicky, and sometimes Mona, trying to take Huta's share of the enrichment we give them all. Again, IAR keepers always put extra enrichment in the cage, to make sure Huta isn't left out.

Despite these small problems, all three orangutans seem to love being together, and Huta is clearly much happier having some sisterly company!

21 June 2010

Some of our primates start the journey back to freedom

Nicky, our centre manager in Ciapus, updates us on the latest release of macaques and slow lorises.

The team set off for Lampung, Sumatra yesterday with a group of 12 macaques and four slow lorises. The 12 pig-tailed macaques were supposed to have been released last year but the paperwork has taken ages.

Macaque being prepared for releaseThe pre-survey team left for Lampung on 6 June to prepare the habituation cages and, when they let us know that they were almost ready, we started our preparations.

On Wednesday 16 June we started catching the animals at 1400 hrs. They were all weighed and microchipped and blood samples were taken from them. Then in the evening the team set off, arriving in Lampung the next morning for the last stretch of the journey by boat and then on foot.

At the release site the macaques will spend several days in the habituation cage getting used to their surroundings before they are released. Then they will be monitored for about three weeks to make sure they are getting on ok.

News has already come in that they all arrived safely and are already settling in to their new surroundings. So far, so good...!

1 June 2010

Helen is much happier and healthier in her new home

Volunteer Paloma updates us on Helen the rescued orangutan's progress at International Animal Rescue's emergency centre in Ketapang, West Kalimantan.

Helen and her hammock nestWith the arrival of the new units in February at the International Animal Rescue emergency centre, Helen, Jera and Yola were moved from their small enclosures to the bigger ones. Despite still being confined, the extra space and environmental enrichment has seen Helen much more active, and she has begun to build nests with the leaves we give to the orangutans twice a day, just as she would in the wild. She definitely loves the leaves!

Helen and her floor nestIn the beginning, Helen started to make her nest just in a corner, then she changed and started to make it in her big hammock, and right now she normally likes to make it in the deep corner of the cage, where she can have interactions with her neighbouring orangutans. She spends a lot of time interacting through the bars with them, and they normally try to steal from each other or pass things to each other, such as the sacks or the leaves. She also likes to play with the enrichment provided, and it is great to see her swinging, swaying and twirling, either by her hands or feet, and behaving like a young orangutan in the wild!

Although it has not been possible to release her yet, Helen's wellbeing has improved a lot since she moved to the bigger enclosure and she looks so much happier and healthier too.