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.
For 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.
Vet Student from Norway