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.

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