28 September 2010

Silje the slow loris continues to enjoy her freedom

UK researcher Richard Moore is working with our team in Java to study the viability of returning captive lorises to the wild. He reports the latest on Silje who was released some four weeks ago.

Silje the slow lorisSilje is still doing well on the mountain - feeding and foraging, and is still in the same area (making a home range), so this is very good news. The monitoring is continuous and we are managing to get some vital data on this very little known primate at last! All this data will help with future releases and also with the welfare of lorises in captivity.

The keepers have managed to get a couple of really good photos of Silje foraging and feeding on Kaliandra flowers. She is eating about 100 flowers a night, as well as fruit (yet to be identified), insects and sap. It’s all looking very positive!

27 September 2010

Our orangutans in baby school come on in leaps and bounds!

New volunteer Carolynn from Seattle updates us on the young orangutans at our centre in Ketapang.

Since arriving at our centre in Ketapang last week, Karmila has been active and ever curious about the world around her. Despite her skinny little arms and legs, she has been climbing and exploring almost constantly when not eating or sleeping. It didn’t take her long to get used to drinking milk and eating more nutrient-rich foods and she shrieks with excitement when she sees her food on the way. Karmila loves the companionship of others and she uses her firm grip to keep herself wrapped around her caregiver’s neck. She also loves chewing leaves, tugging on branches, or snuggling up with her cozy soft teddy bear.

Pedro, now almost six months old, is as sociable and sweet as can be. He is always happier when surrounded by others. When not in the arms of his caretaker, Pedro spends lots of time with his buddy Paolo. Pedro loves to take naps sprawled out on his caretaker’s lap, but for some reason tends to pull and pick at the hair on top of his head. We hope that this behaviour will lessen as he gets older and interacts more with other orangutans.

Thankfully Paolo, now six months old, has made a full recovery from malaria. His grip is strong for climbing and hanging, and he enjoys practising with the older orangutans in baby school. Paolo also doesn’t mind playing and climbing on the infant playpen by himself or with his buddy Pedro. He also loves eating and sleeping and now weighs 5kg! He can drink 100ml of milk in 60 seconds and he has a big belly and small cheek pads on his face... I think it’s almost time to put him on a diet!

Sindi is a great leader in baby school. We want to encourage the baby orangutans to climb as much as possible, and no one sets a better example than Sindi. She is very independent and has taught herself how to climb high up in the trees. Sometimes she surprises her keepers by sneaking up on them and plopping down onto the ground from the trees. There is never a dull moment when Sindi is near!

Ujang is a very sweet and gentle orangutan from our baby school, but he is still having some trouble learning to climb. He didn’t get enough calcium during his first year of life, so his bones didn’t grow as strong and thick as they should be. He gets around just fine by crawling on the ground, but we try to encourage him to climb by hiding snacks in the trees and playing with him on elevated platforms.

Monti has become quite the climber in baby school, and makes friends with new volunteers quite quickly.

She is far from the oldest in our group, but Monti has the thickest and shiniest coat of hair in the bunch. She never minds modelling for the many pictures we take of her!

Melky is a very confident young orangutan, and like any young male, he enjoys testing boundaries at every opportunity.

He is very clever, and is always one of the first to discover new enrichment items and hidden snacks.

22 September 2010

Karmila the baby orangutan joins our family in Ketapang

Karmele, International Animal Rescue's Veterinary Director in Indonesia, updates us on the latest orangutan to join our family in Ketapang.

Karmila the infant orangutanOur latest arrival at the orangutan rescue centre is baby Karmila. We received information about her from local group Yayasan palung and they accompanied us during the confiscation, together with the BKSDA authorities. She was being kept by a very poor family who claimed they had found her in Lawang Darah, the area of Limpah Sejahtera state - a subsidiary palm company to First Resources. A few months back, our team rescued Helen and Jera from the same plantation. I hate to think how many orangutans have died in this plantation.

The baby is only 10 months old but she looks very skinny and is smaller than she should be at this age. For the two and a half months that she lived with the owners she would only eat rice, so it’s no wonder that she's malnourished. At least now, we can provide her with a suitable diet and veterinary care. She has lost her mother and her home, but she is in safe hands and we will give her the best chance to grow up and one day return to a protected area in the wild.

» Watch Karmila's rescue on YouTube

17 September 2010

Youngest loris yet arrives at our Ciapus centre

Young slow lorisThe latest slow loris to arrive at our primate rehabilitation centre in Java is tiny and very young - probably only two or three months old. The owners bought her in the pet market without even knowing what kind of animal she was. It was only by looking on the internet that they discovered she was a loris and therefore an endangered species. They contacted International Animal Rescue and our rescue team picked her up in Bandung.

Although very small, she seems generally healthy. It was concerning to learn from the owners that they paid more for the loris because she was so small: the older ones were 300.000 rupiahs (about £21) but this very young one was 500.000 rupiahs (about £35.50). This is not good news.

13 September 2010

Silje the slow loris seems to be settling in

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

Slow loris in habituation enclosure prior to releaseThe latest release of the female loris Silje seems to be going well so far. She has now been up the mountain for six nights and we have monitored her intensively since the release. She has not strayed away from the release area and seems to be gradually travelling further and further afield, but always returning - almost forming a range. However this is still early days, so better not be too optimistic just yet. There are definitely some good signs though...

Every night she is becoming more habituated so we can get really close to her. She is feeding constantly on Caliandra flowers, and insects, and some tree sap...  and she is always on the move. The area she is in is an area which is not flat by any means, but still accessible (even though full of thorny bushes). On the second night she fell 8m out of a tree in a fight with another loris (how on earth does she find them, when we had searched the area for so long!!), but seems to be ok and has not left the area. I guess this is normal behaviour in forming territories. Last night though I did have reports that she had been attacked by a civet - she is injured, but not too badly by the sounds of things. Hopefully she will make a full recovery and continue to do well.

Silje the loris is from this area, so it is possible she knows what is edible and what is not, and is also familiar with the environment/temperature etc in general. Fingers crossed. I am currently writing a presentation for the conference in Japan, so will not be on the mountain for the next few days. But there are now two teams alternating to ensure round the clock monitoring.

The internet here has been terrible the last few days, and only seems to work in the mornings when I have been sleeping which is really frustrating!

3 September 2010

Little Paolo suffers a setback

PaoloSince his arrival at the rehabilitation centre, Paolo's condition had improved steadily. The wounds on his left and right legs healed well and his weight increased from 2.77 kg to 3.87 kg thanks largely to his four carers who give him his morning and evening milk!

Once he was feeling better Paolo became increasingly active. He started to do a lot of climbing and his grip became much stronger. There were also the first signs of his lower incisor teeth coming through.

Then one night Paolo clearly had a fever. The next day his blood was sent to the lab and the results came back positive for malaria. So Paolo has been put on anti-malaria treatment. Hopefully he will make a speedy recovery so that he can get back to his climbing antics! Reports on his general physical and mental development are good: he is already brave enough to dangle on a rope and is generally an active little orangutan with a calm, easygoing personality.