29 July 2010

Passa, the greater slow loris: from Sumatra to Java

Five years ago Mrs Yayat came to Pulau Bengkalis, Riau, Sumatra to follow the transmigration programme. Every once in a while she came back to her hometown in Pasar Sabtu Desa Situ Udik Kecamatan Cibungbulang Bogor, Java.

One time she came back from Sumatra bringing a baby animal. It was the baby of a slow loris. As she was not staying in Java for long, the baby was then reared by her cousin. News of this baby eventually reached IAR. So on 29 May 2010 the rescue team from IAR Indonesia came to the house of Mrs Yayat's cousin.

The baby was being kept inside a small wooden box in the kitchen. For food, the owner was giving it only cucumber and banana. Because of the lack of knowledge about the nocturnal behaviour of the slow loris, the owner took it out of the box every morning.

The baby was a male greater slow loris. He had been named Passa. When the rescue team arrived Passa looked unhealthy and stressed (he is aggressive). He didn't respond even when the rescue team gave him insects.

Mrs Yayah and her cousin had no idea that the animal they were taking care of was a slow loris, they thought it was a cuscus. Also they did not know that the slow loris is a protected animal and not a pet.

At the moment Passa is in the quarantine cage at IAR's Rehabilitation Centre in Indonesia, Ciapus.

It is high time people were aware of the slow loris and realised that they are animals protected by the law.

IAR Indonesia has the biggest slow loris rehabilitation centre. Right now we are about to release four slow lorises into Batutegi Lampung, Sumatra.

Let's hope that one day Passa will also live free again in the wild.

22 July 2010

Vet student reports on her internship experience in Indonesia

I am a last year veterinary student from Norway, and for the last three months I have volunteered at the veterinary clinic at IAR's rescue and rehabilitation centre in Ciapus, Indonesia as part of my last year medical training.

In advance I was correctly informed that this is not a clinic with state of the art, high technological equipment (although they have endoscopic equipment, x-ray machine and an inhalation anesthesia machine) or surgical activity around the clock. What intrigued me to come was to learn more about preventive and treatment medicine for primates as well as their rehabilitation and release. The centre cares for the Slow Loris (Javanese and Sumatran) and Long Tailed and Pig Tailed Macaque.

My days in the clinic consisted of helping out with the treatments of the animals in the clinic in the morning, in the afternoons we had surgeries or worked on treatment plans for some of the more chronic patients. The surgeries were often dental surgeries on the Loris, necessary because poachers cruelly clip their teeth of before trying to sell them. Another interesting procedure was the endoscopic sterilization of the female Macaques; minimal invasive and very effective. I also spent some time doing observations of the animals in the cages, especially individuals that were due to be released. During my stay I was fortunate enough to participate on a release, 12 Long Tailed Macaques and 4 Sumatran Slow Lorises were released in a protected forest area in Lampung, Sumatra. It was incredible to accompany the animals on their way back out into the wild, and very educational to follow the organization process that leads up to the release itself.

Silje and PaoloFor a 10 day period I visited IAR's Orangutan rescue and rehabilitation centre in Kalimantan. It was my first encounter with Orangutans and they are truly fascinating. The centre had at the time I was there seven babies and eight adult individuals, held in separate locations. I stayed mostly in the baby school, helping the Indonesian animal carers keeping the small ones active and safe and assisting the veterinarians. The veterinary work consisted of critical care for an orphaned four month old baby, wound management and preventive measurements to prevent infections of the gastro intestinal tract. I've learned a lot about the troubles and challenges of a young rescue centre and the importance of preventive and natural medicine when working with primates.

It has been a wonderful three months, in most part accredited to the fascinating primates and all the great people that made me feel like a part of the centre.

Silje Robertsen,
Vet Student from Norway