16 May 2011

Bandut takes to the treetops

Team vet Jenny Jaffe updates us on Bandut's progress at International Animal Rescue's orangutan centre in Ketapang, West Kalimantan.

Bandut the infant orangutan takes to the trees!Bandut, the newest addition to our group and the star of my last blog entry, is doing well. He is still in quarantine while we await the results of his blood tests (they were sent to an external lab). The stool samples we examined in our clinic just after he arrived were negative for worm eggs. But to be on the safe side we gave him deworming medication anyway and some nice dead worms came out with his stool the next day, so I’m happy our ‘new animal protocol’ does routinely include deworming!

The idea of keeping him separate from the other youngsters for a fixed period is of course to prevent him from transmitting any new diseases to them.

Bandut enjoys climbing treesApart from his health our main concern was that he might find it hard to get ‘jungle skills’ as he had been treated as a human baby for so long. Happily, during the day, when he is out of the enclosure he sleeps in, he loves climbing high up in the trees. And he is managing to find the small ripe fruits up there hanging from the farthest branches. Bandut is monitored constantly while he is exploring, as the ‘emergency centre’ he stays at is not really built for curious little orangutans and without somebody watching him, he could easily escape!

It might have been mentioned before, but this is the set up we have now: the ‘emergency centre’ for the 11 older orangutans who stay in big cages, and the ‘baby school’ playground for the 14 youngsters. This is a temporary set up though, and work is already underway on the new land that has been acquired about 15 kilometres away. It is a wonderful location for true rehabilitation as it is surrounded by and contains quite a lot of forest with the huge trees orangutans love. It is an enormous job to create the quality rehabilitation centre we have envisioned there and it needs a large investment. But the idea of seeing these forest apes swinging happily in the trees all day long is extremely motivating. International Animal Rescue Indonesia has some exciting times coming up...

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