17 March 2011

Monte proves a quick learner and enjoys the enrichment

Paloma updates us on how Monte is getting on at International Animal Rescue's orangutan centre in Ketapang, West Kalimantan.

Monte sucking honey from the leavesMonte, who is the oldest of all the orangutans in the emergency rescue centre, has been already tested for possible diseases and given general checks. Fortunately the results have been negative for hepatitis and tuberculosis and the blood test levels seem to be alright. Therefore it hasn't been necessary to put him on any treatment at the moment.

However, the vet Doctor Anita thinks that maybe Monte has some problem with his coordination or eyesight. It seems that he can't coordinate some actions properly, such as, when we give him a banana, sometimes he can't take it on his first attempt and this is probably due to some deficiency in his sight. Also, she thinks that he may have a lack of calcium in his bones because of his locomotion. For this reason he is taking multivitamins for his bones.

Despite this, Monte has learnt very quickly in his training for a blood test. We are still on the first steps with him but it is likely he will learn very fast: after just two sessions he is able to give us his arm and stay relaxed. It gives us very good expectations for his learning, and shows how intelligent Monte is.

Paloma preparing the enrichmentsWith regard to the enrichments I have been trying, Monte loves the enrichments with leaves, just like the rest of the orangutans. I just spread some honey on leaves and make little sacks with some fruit inside placed between the branches. He likes to suck each leaf and then afterwards play with the rest. He also likes the big cardboard boxes with some banana spread and some powder: so funny to see how, after licking off all the banana very carefully, he uses the box to put on his head and try to clean himself from the powder!

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