Our volunteer Carolynn sends us the latest news from our orangutan rescue centre in Ketapang.
IAR rescued Mely last month from horrendous conditions where she had been chained to a deck for 15 years, and it has been a privilege to watch her progress here in Ketapang. When Mely first arrived, her steps were very calculated and slow since she literally had to learn how to walk and climb, but now she can zip around her enclosure with ease and has no problems climbing to the top. She has become quite playful, and I always see her weaving in and out of tyre swings and ropes suspended in mid air.
Mely’s personality is so sweet that I never would have guessed that she came from such a horrific background. She always comes over to say hello whenever anyone greets her, and she is incredibly gentle. Sometimes when cleaning the enclosures, the orangutans will try to grab the rakes and brooms to play with them - or in many cases to tear them apart - and sometimes Mely tries to grab at them too. The difference is that Mely always promptly lets go as soon as I say her name somewhat firmly. Her eyes seem to apologize in an, “I’m so sorry, I just couldn’t resist trying to touch it for a second,” kind of way. I know Mely is stronger than I am, but she is so respectful that all I have to do is ask if I need something from her.