29 November 2011

Mac makes friends among the infants

Paloma Corbi updates us on how Mac is getting on with the other orangutans at our centre in Ketapang, Western Borneo

Mac is a male orangutan of approximately 3 years old. He arrived at the centre on 19 October. He was confiscated in Pontianak, in an area close to Sintang. Apparently a family had kept him as a pet for at least a year. Then they found out that it was illegal to keep orangutans and they contacted the forestry department who told IAR about the situation. So a member of the team went to check the condition of the orangutan and, although he was in a good physical condition, he had a kind of dermatitis in his eyes, plus conjunctivitis. So the IAR vet gave the family some topical creams and treatments to give Mac until the forestry department gave permission for the orangutan to be rescued and brought to the IAR Orangutan emergency centre in Ketapang. Once all the papers for the confiscation were completed, Mac was rescued and brought to the centre. He kept the same treatment, adding also antihistamine oral medication, and thanks to all this care he recovered in about a week. His blood was tested to see if he has hepatitis , and also the tuberculin test was done. All the tests gave good results so that last week it was decided to socialise him with the rest of the babies.

First of all, Mac was socialised in the baby school while we observed how he behaved with the rest of the orangutans. At the beginning he was fine, investigating his new friends and playing with them, but at some point he started to play in a very rough way so that it was thought that maybe he would be better being with the orangutans in the infant area, and he certainly was! When we brought Mac to the infant area he started to interact with the rest of the orangutans, although he was a bit shy at first. After they made a full inspection of him, he started to get more confident, playing with Melky and Momo first and afterwards with Pungky and Mimi. He also thoroughly enjoyed climbing the trees and the platforms. Since that moment he has joined the orangutans in the infant area every day. And as soon as the new centre is finished he will be able to live in a large forested enclosure and learn how to be a real orangutan!

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