6 December 2012

Latest loris update from International Animal Rescue’s primate rehabilitation centre in West Java

Mawar is on the road to recovery
by vet Wendi Prameswari

Do you remember the story of poor Mawar the slow loris back in October? She was found with a severe injury to her hand which resulted in her having to have it amputated. It’s been two months since then and thankfully the wound is healing nicely. The skin over the wound is closing really well and new hair is starting to grow. Mawar’s appetite is good, she is active in the cage and her body weight is now 1 kg. For the time being, we are still keeping her under observation and continuing her rehabilitation so that she learns to adapt to her disability.  
Two months on from the amputation op and Mawar is doing well.
Read Mawar's story here.

For more information on International Animal Rescue's work with the slow loris, click here

3 December 2012

Latest news from International Animal Rescue’s primate rehabilitation centre in West Java

A bright future ahead for female loris Maripili
by vet Wendi Prameswari

Maripili in her cage
Last week an awareness team from the IAR centre in Ciapus visited a loris owner in North Jakarta. Our purpose was to visit the owner and check the health and welfare conditions of the loris. The owner had been keeping the loris as a pet in a small cage for seven months. The loris was identified as a female Javan loris and we called her Maripili. As she has a full set of teeth, our team decided to take her to our rehabilitation centre. Her health check results showed that she was suffering from malnutrition and her body weight was only 600 grams. We hope that after the rehabilitation process, she can be released back to the wild.

Young female Cookie also settles in well
by Johanna Rhode of the Little Fireface Project

Cookie is now in the biggest cage
Good news!!! Our beautiful subadult female "Cookie" has made a head start at the IAR rescue centre. When we found her in the field, she was so lost and confused; walking on the ground in the village during the day. She was also very skinny.

We brought her to the rescue centre where she ate all the food in her new quarantine cage already in the first evening. Now she has already been moved to the biggest cage in the centre and she is doing amazingly well! Next step will be to introduce her to a nice loris friend for socialisation! Let's hope she continues becoming a fantastic and skilled slow loris, so that we can release her one day to live in her forest home again one day.

For more information on International Animal Rescue's slow loris project, please click here.

30 November 2012

November Blog update from International Animal Rescue in Ketapang

By vet Christine Nelson

Galang, Merah and the rest of the gang are thriving!

Galang, the newest addition, adjusted quickly and has been doing well during his quarantine period. His medical exam and testing procedures went well, and we are eagerly awaiting the results to see him on to the next stage. He will be introduced to the others in the baby school, where he should fit in well. Galang is being a good boy and eating his vegetables, which is a huge improvement from his previous diet. This will hopefully help him grow strong and maintain a healthier weight.

Merah has gotten over some of his apprehensions and is now coming out in the play yard with everyone else.  He does appreciate a little bit of time to explore on his own, but he also enjoys playing with Pedro and Cemong. According to some of our behavioral observations, he isn’t picky, and he likes to spend time with any and all of the baby school orangutans. He also likes to gather leaves and have a fine nest, so he sets a good example of forest living for his cage mates.

A rare photo of Pelangsi and his
attempts to build a nest!
Pelangsi continues to build nests and climb high in his cage. He has been given the thumbs up from a medical and behavioral standpoint, so we hope to finalize the details of his release in the near future.

Rocky is continuing the transition to a more solid diet, but he still likes to have his bottle. We are hoping to get him to try out a few new foods and grow a few new hairs! He does like to be close to someone, but he is not as dependent on humans and is finding comfort with his orangutan companions instead. Rocky has a new habit of wanting to be free of his diaper and has started spending more time with the rest of his friends “au naturel”. Rickina already eats some fruits and vegetables well, and she is growing stronger and more confident while playing with the bigger babies.
Rocky and Lady
Ucil seems to be getting along well in baby school although it is a bit of a challenge to keep him from exploring his boundaries (like the fences)! He requires a little extra when it comes to making sure he is mentally stimulated, and he has us all thinking of new ways to keep him busy learning skills he can apply to forest life in the future.

All of the orangutans are enjoying some temporary but wonderful improvements to the cages and play yards done recently by the enrichment team. The new center is coming along well, but there is still much work to be done …

For more information on our new orangutan rehabilitation centre, click here.

23 November 2012

International Animal Rescue Primate Diaries Update

The team taking Singgih up the mountain to the habituation cage
On 20 November a Javan slow loris named Singgih was taken up to the habituation cage on Salak Mountain, West Java. Singgih will remain in this cage for a period of time (usually between 1-3 months) until the team are satisfied that he possesses the necessary skills for survival back in the wild. Observations of Singgih occur on a nightly basis and include the collection of behavioural, positional and locomotive data. 

The open top habituation cage
The period of time spent in the habituation cage is an important aspect of the rehabilitation process which helps the lorises to adapt to life back in the forest. If Singgih is unable to locate local food sources such as flowers, fruit and tree gum, catch live prey or navigate with ease through the canopy, his chances of survival will be substantially reduced. Based on the data collected by the monitoring team during the observation period, a decision will be made as to whether Singgih will be released or not. If Singgih is deemed not ready for release he may be kept for a longer period in the habituation cage or be brought back to the IAR centre for further rehabilitation.  Conversely, if he is considered ready, he will be released into the forest surrounding the habituation cage, where he will be monitored using radio-telemetry for a year long period.
Singghih peeping out of the transportation cage
Spot the slow loris!

5 November 2012

October orangutan update from Ketapang

From vet Silje Robertsen

Pedro enjoying a well deserved
rest after play fighting duties
In Ketapang we have had a busy month with big changes for some of the animals. Roy and Merah finished their quarantine periods and have been introduced to the babies in our Baby School area. Roy is definitely one of the biggest in this group now, and he play-wrestles for hours with Cemong or Pedro: he is obviously enjoying being out of the boring quarantine cage. Merah has a much wilder nature than the ones who have been kept for long periods in captivity, and does not yet trust humans, but his wounds from the chain have healed well and he stays in the cage with the other babies at night time and seems to enjoy the company of the group.  During the day he is in a big cage with a nice view over the play ground, so that he can get used to his new surroundings and the baby- sitters at a safe distance.

Jack in a contemplative mood
Bandut and Jack were getting tired of the small space in the Baby School playground and have been moved to the juvenile group in the transit area. After an initial period of hesitation Jack threw himself in the play activities and quickly made friends with Bunga and the rest. Bandut stayed close to the babysitter at the beginning, but showed no fear of the older and stronger orangutans and quickly made new friends.

Rocky and Rickina are best buddies now!

Rocky has also finished his quarantine period and has been introduced to the rest of the youngest babies in our baby school. He had a soft start as he was first introduced to Rickina in her hammock and the two of them hit it off instantly and played and tumbled around for hours. Rocky still has mental traumas and is very fragile as a result of his malnourishment. He will need special attention during his rehabilitation process, but he is already showing great progress and gaining weight - and he is no longer afraid of bananas!

Pelangsi is continuing to show good progress and this month he has undergone a new examination under general anaesthesia. The amputated arm is without swelling and the operation wound is healed, so the prospects are looking good for releasing him soon!

Little Galang peeps down at his rescuers
On the 30th of October we received a new young orangutan, a male called Galang of about two and a half years old. What his true background is we will probably never know for sure, but he was surrendered by workers at a palm oil company in the area Sukadana. They in turn claim to have received him from villagers who found Galang eating in their garden. The palm oil company then kept the orangutan for two weeks before handing him over to the forestry department, feeding him fried chicken and other human food items. Galang is in a general healthy condition, apart from a mild overweight probably due to the malnourishment. He is also very used to humans, indicating that his captive situation has been going on for much longer than two weeks. He is now in our quarantine area and will undergo a health screening after a period of acclimatizing to his new surroundings.  

15 October 2012

Rahayu and Rocky get glowing progress reports

By vet Silje Robertsen

Rahayu posing for the camera!
Rahayu is doing very well these days and you can hardly tell she has a small handicap in her eye sight. Her only problem is being slightly cross eyed but she gets around just as well as the rest. She does tend to stay closer to the baby sitters than some of the others, but she still plays actively and does not seem to be hindered by her eye sight. The only problem we have is that she loves to eat, and is starting to get a bit tubby around around the edges! She is a lovely orangutan, sweet and gentle with the rest of the gang and eyes that could melt any heart. Her favourite play-pal is Gunung, perhaps because he keeps a slower pace than some of the bigger ones, and so they're a good match.

Rocky is recovering well
Rocky is doing really well too and is behaving more and more like a "normal" baby orangutan. When he came he was hugging himself frantically as he had probably been kept by himself in a small space. He is not used to eating fruit raw and is often scared when we offer him different things - like banana! So we have been mashing foods together and giving it to him as a drink, as he likes to drink from the bottle  which is probably all he knows. Slowly though he is trying new things and although he stills cries if he thinks he's being left alone, he seems a lot more confident and is gaining strength and body weight by the day. 

8 October 2012

Mawar the slow loris suffers a serious injury

by Executive Director Karmele Llano Sanchez

Our loris monitoring team in Java recently discovered that Mawar, a female slow loris who was under observation in Gunung Salak, had an injury on her left hand. It looked as if she could have been caught in a snare, although this is pretty unlikely. She may have just got caught up in some wire.

The injury was severe and, even though the medical team did their best to save Mawar’s hand, it became quite necrotic and regrettably we had to amputate it a few days ago.

So now we are caring for a loris that has had a hand amputated, as well as an orangutan. We hope Mawar, like Pelangsi, will make a good recovery from the surgery, and then she too will be kept under observation by the team to see how well she learns to cope with her new handicap.

5 October 2012

Rocky the orangutan is the latest arrival at our rescue centre

 By  vet Silje Robertsen

A young male orangutan that was surrendered by his owner to the forestry department in Ketapang,West Kalimantan on 4 October is the latest arrival at our rescue centre. Very little is known about his circumstances other than that he was being kept in a cage.

The orangutan’s name is Rocky and he is about one year old. He is extremely malnourished which, apart from his low body weight, is also indicated by his lack of hair, particularly on his head which is completely bald!

The infant is severely traumatised and requires constant encouragment to eat and drink. The medical team and the babysitters are caring for him around the clock to make him feel secure and build up his confidence. He  is currently being looked after in the baby quarantine area where he will be given plenty of time to recover in the weeks ahead before he is introduced to the other babies.
We’ll keep you posted on young Rocky’s progress ...

3 October 2012

Rescuing Laura

By volunteer Laurence from Hong Kong

25 September 2012 was a memorable day for me as a volunteer for IAR in Bogor, Indonesia. I was glad to be in the team for the rescue of a Javanese slow loris, Laura. I was really lucky to have an opportunity like this, particularly as I’m not able to stay here all that long!

In the morning of that day, I was told that there would be a rescue of a slow loris from a village near the primate rehabilitation centre here. It had been reported to IAR that someone in the village had a slow loris at their home and they would like to hand it over. We set off in the afternoon with a veterinarian, Dr Anne Dawydowa, and two IAR staff. All of us were excited to see the slow loris but, at the same time, also worried about the condition it would be in.

The location was just a small village. We wondered how they could have bought a slow loris from an animal market. Or even worse, had they captured it from the wild? I was curious to know where they had got this animal...

When we arrived, someone from the house took us to the slow loris. She had been put in a pet cage with a flattened cardboard box and some mango as food inside. She seemed scared to be exposed and was huddling in the corner. However, she still looked bright and not as bad as we had imagined. We had prepared a transport box with shade for the slow loris, so our vet tried to get Laura out of the pet cage and into our box as quickly as possible in order to reduce her stress. Slow lorises are nocturnal animals and they have a shy nature. Being exposed to sunlight and surrounded by people can be very stressful for them.

Unfortunately, some bloody stains were found on the cardboard box while our vet was handling the slow loris. We discovered that she was bleeding slightly from two wounds. One was between her index finger and thumb and another one was on her wrist. It was also noticed that some of her teeth were missing. This is very common among the slow lorises sold in the animal market and is done to prevent them biting the traders. Our vet put her quickly and carefully into our box, and some foliage as well, so that she would be more comfortable in a familiar environment. We covered the box well and then asked the owner some questions about Laura.

According to the owner, he had found the slow loris two weeks previously in a swimming pool and had brought it back home. It seemed he didn't even know what kind of animal it was as he looked surprised when he was told that it was a 'kukang' (slow loris in Indonesian.)

It was possible that he didn't intend to keep it as pet, but found he didn't know much about handling this 'kukang' after having taken it back home and so contacted IAR for help.

Our action was not only taking Laura but, more importantly, also educating the local people that wild animals should not be kept as pets. Their understanding could prevent similar stories happening again. So this was a real 'rescue operation’ for all slow lorises in Indonesia, not just Laura.

Laura is now in the care of our veterinary team and her wounds seem much better. We will keep on observing both her physical and behavioural status.  Hopefully one day she can be released back to where she belongs.

2 October 2012

Rickina and Jacky settle in well and Pelangsi continues to make good progress

By vet Silje Robertsen

Rickina has finished her quarantine and as the wound on her head has healed nicely she has been introduced to the other babies in the baby school group. They all are very fascinated by her scar from the machete wound and want to inspect it closely. Rickina herself is still a bit overwhelmed by all this attention, but seems to enjoy being the centre of the party and is getting braver every time we take her down. We are introducing her for short periods of time every day and hopefully soon she and Gunung will be climbing the ropes together!

Jacky has also been introduced to the baby school group and he seems to love the all new space and ropes to climb in. Although he stills whimpers a bit when there is no babysitter in sight, he is growing more independent every day and can play for hours on end with Karmila and Gunung and all the rest.

Pelangsi is in a good condition and is very active in his cage. Hopefully it won’t be long before he can return to the forest and show us all how well he can cope with his handicap. He is eagerly gathering leafs provided for him and making nests as well as he can, so he has definitely not forgotten his skills from the wild.

11 September 2012

Update on new arrivals Rickina, Roy and Johnny

By vet Silje Robertsen
Last Saturday we received two new animals that had been confiscated by the forestry department in Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan. We do not have much information about their captive living conditions, but they were not confiscated from the same owner though both are in good physical health.

Roy is a young male of about 3-4 years and unfortunately seems very habituated to humans indicating that he probably was taken from his mother at a very young age and has been living in captivity ever since.

Johnny is a few years older than Roy and a bit “rough around the edges”, but still very habituated to humans indicating the same early life fate as Roy. They are both placed in our quarantine cages and their group placement will be decided after the health screening and the quarantine period is successfully completed.

Rickina, who was rescued a few weeks back and was suffering from a skin wound on the head, is showing good improvement. The wound is almost completely healed and she is a very active and independent young orangutan.

22 August 2012

Updates on all the orangutan antics in Ketapang

Baby orangutan Noel
By vet Silje Robertsen

At our orangutan rescue centre in Ketapang some of our younger orangutans have been introduced to new areas. Marsela, the young female who was rescued from a palm oil plantation in February this year was moved from the baby school to the larger play area for the juveniles and seems to be thoroughly enjoying the new space here.  Monti has also been moved to the larger play area and after an initial period of scepticism she is now playing enthusiastically and is settling in well with the “big guys”. 

Ujil was initially placed with the older babies in the back transit area, where he seemed to be settling in well. After some weeks though, it became clear that he was not coping too well in the new environment and he was showing signs of depression. The past month he has been together with the younger babies in the baby school area and here he seems to be more content. He is a gentle character, but knows how to defend himself in the not so seldom play fights with Jack or Bandut. He also keeps the baby sitters busy as he is continually looking for weak spots in our fencing and breaks out. 

Gunung and Noel are enjoying the status as the babies in the group. Especially Lady is thriving in the role of surrogate mother and loves pulling Gunung’s long hair. Also Rahayu and Oscarina will join in on the play: even when Noel and Gunung might be heading off in another direction they will firmly, but kindly, convince them to stay and play with them.

Pelangsi is showing a steady improvement as his wounds from the amputation operation have healed. It will surely be a long process for him to learn how to cope with his new disability, but he has already developed a technique for gathering leafs with his healthy arm and his mouth.

Rescued orangutan Jacky
On Saturday 18 August a young male orangutan was surrendered to our centre. He is called Jacky and is about one and a half years old.  He has probably been kept as a pet for most of his life as he is very attached to humans, but he has no signs of physical illness.  For now he is in our baby quarantine area awaiting the results of his health screening and if all is clear after the quarantine period he can join the other babies in the play area.

3 August 2012

Reducing stress in captive slow lorises

By Andy Gray 

Slow loris researcher Andy Gray
I am currently a volunteer researcher at IAR’s Ciapus Primate Centre studying to get my Master’s degree from Oxford Brookes University. In my 3 months here, I have been conducting a captive study to examine which types of enrichment might reduce stress for the slow lorises living here. In particular, I have used tree gums, as gouging large holes in trees for gum has been reported often in the wild. Because many of the lorises at the centre have their teeth brutally clipped or pulled in the illegal trade, gouging these holes is quite difficult for them in captivity. My goal was to provide a successful way for the lorises to eat tree gums while still performing some “gouging” behaviours through soft materials, like banana leaves. I also wanted this to be challenging and entertaining enrichment for the lorises with teeth as well.
It has been incredibly rewarding to watch the lorises enjoy the enrichment that the keepers, vets, and I designed. We have given them pine cones with mashed banana, branches with gum inside holes wrapped with banana leaf, and frozen gum and kalliandra flowers inside large bundles of grass (I suspect they liked this last one the most!). I have been very busy collecting as much data as I can for this study. The keepers joke that I have become a kukang (loris) because I collect data until 5am. It is incredible to be alone in the nighttime watching the lorises. I can’t say I’ve ever seen anything like it before. 
Erwin eating gum enrichment
Beyond my enrichment study, I have also conducted an experiment regarding boldness and shyness of the lorises. I have focused on lorises who are candidates for release, and have used novel objects to determine how willing they are to approach and explore new things. I hope that this will be beneficial for the centre when judging which lorises are the best candidates for release, because studies with other species have shown that animals survive better post-release if they are either bold or shy (depending on the species). No one has studied this before in lorises, so it is unknown whether or not they are more likely to survive if they are bold or shy. I am very excited for the long-term research possibilities for the centre, even after I leave. 
This project has been incredibly rewarding. It feels good to be contributing to both the captive care and the reintroduction project here at IAR Indonesia. However, the root of the problem is the illegal trade. In the future, I hope I can also be involved in efforts to combat this, as it is so important for the survival of the species and individual welfare. Please follow IAR Indonesia’s fantastic law enforcement work, and keep spreading the word about stopping the illegal wildlife trade!

9 July 2012

Education and Mitigation of Macaque Conflict Programme

By Indri Hapsari, Education Coordinator

June 27th 2012 education coordinator Indri Hapsari and Mitigation of Macaque Conflict Programme coordinator Ayut Enggeliah Entoh went to the BDN elementary  school in Jakarta to give presentations about animal welfare and the facts about monkeys. Education was given in two parts, first part was 1st – 3rd grades and the second one was 4th – 6th grades. The students were pretty enthusiastic but the 1st -3rd grades seem to be particularly interested. They paid a lot of attention to what the team explained and asked the most questions.

The awareness team provided basic knowledge and facts about monkeys, especially the long- and pig-tailed macaques. They also spoke with the students about animal welfare and explained that we should not keep monkeys or other wildlife as pets.

Most students think that monkeys eat bananas and peanuts and that it would be alright to feed monkeys because it  means that they  care for them.

The public perception  of  monkeys is completely mistaken and  we hope by conducting  awareness activities many people will improve their understanding of these animals. And as a result they will not look at Topeng monyet or feed wild monkeys. Hopefully too they will laugh less when they see a picture of a monkey or ape.

Topeng monyet is a traditional entertainment using monkeys doing tricks like riding a motorcycle, shopping and dancing. The problem is how the monkey is made to do these things. The trainer tortures the monkey by beating  it or not giving it food if it isn’t obedient. Even, to make them walk on their hind legs only, trainers will tie a rope round their necks and pull the rope up so they are forced to stand upright. Not watching or giving money can help lessen the Topeng monyet activity.

Feeding wild monkeys can contribute to their bad habits. Because they can get food easily, they will not try to look for food again in the wild. They will just beg from humans or even steal it.

Lastly, for some reason if people are shown a picture of a monkey they laugh. We’re not sure about the real reason but maybe because monkeys are creatures that people used as objects to tease, someone or some myth and legends put monkeys as the villains in the story. These things create a negative perception in people’s minds.

To change people’s attitudes  is not easy, especially in an elite community where people don’t want to be bothered. One thing we can do is raise awareness among children, and hopefully they will pass the message on to their parents.

13 June 2012

Putting our primates back into the wild

Vet Sharmini Julita Paramasivam reports on another success story from our Primate Rescue Centre...

Yayasan IAR Indonesia (YIARI) functions to rescue, rehabilitate and release to the wild two of the most traded primate species in Indonesian pet markets which are slow lorises and macaques. Rehabilitation means that we work hard to remind these animals that they are wild, since usually most spend their lives as pets, away from their own species, consuming human food and performing behaviour that is not normal in the wild. Rehabilitation involves a specific diet and feeding pattern that will make them ‘work’ for their food, something that they must learn in order to survive in the wild. For macaques, socialization with other individuals when they are ready is the next step to form social groups that they will live with in the wild. Once they form a solid group and are showing wild behaviours, the next step is to release them into the wild.

On the 29 May 2012, a release operation involving 6 pig-tailed macaques and 2 slow lorises was carried out on the island of Lampung in Sumatra. The macaques consisted of 5 individuals in a group led by the dominant male named Rambo for his size and soft heart and an individual dominant male called Bendot. It was a good feeling bringing these animals, indigenous to Sumatra, back to where they belong, seeing that they were brought to the Javan island illegally. After a long 24 hour journey from our centre in Ciapus, Java, all the individuals who were in good health although restless after the long journey, were placed in a habituation cage which is a cage made in the forest to allow acclimatization to the wild conditions. 

After 2 days of habituation, it was time for them to have their first taste of freedom. Rambo’s group, consisting of one adult female (Nonong), 2 juvenile females (Julia and Virgo) and a young male (James), were released back into the wild when we cut the net and set them free. It was fantastic to see all the young ones following their leader. When James couldn’t find his way out of the cage and cried for help, the group rushed to his aid and made sure that no member was left behind. Next it was Bendot, who we were afraid might be aggressive, but instead he demonstrated how much the animals appreciate our work when he stepped out of the cage and walked away in complete peace. The team will continue monitoring the macaques to ensure they are doing well in the wild.

The two Sumatran lorises were placed in our newly designed open top habituation cage that provides a proper natural environment exposure before returning to the wild. They were quick to settle in and started exploring the cage and environment very quickly. Both lorises are fitted with a radiocollar that allows for monitoring after being released. This is part of YIARI’s post-release loris monitoring programme - the first ever to be done in Indonesia to make sure that individuals survive and to understand the way lorises live in the wild to help improve the rehabilitation process at the centre. After a few weeks of habituation time in the cage, they will be released and a team will follow them every night to make sure they are well.

All in all, it was a great success with all the released animals looking healthy and active in the wild. Importance is placed on releasing these animals as it brings great benefits such as increasing the long term conservation prospects of these species; it also acts as a good awareness strategy to teach the public not to keep wild animals as pets and promotes good animal welfare by allowing the animal to live in its natural environment. Ironically, buying wild animals out of pity to ‘save’ them from the horrible life in the markets is NOT a solution. This is because one empty cage means a replacement being caught from the wild. YIARI works hard to spread the message that wild animals belong in the wild and should not be kept as pets, no matter what the circumstances.

11 May 2012

Education and awareness-raising activities in Indonesia

Volunteer Tine Rattel reports...

Information stand at a local animal market
International Animal Rescue recognises the importance of public education as an integral part of conservation outreach, with the ultimate aim of changing attitudes to conservation, resulting in pro-conservation behaviour.

Part of our education and awareness-raising involves analysing local people’s attitudes, knowledge and values concerning animal welfare and conservation. Our efforts focus on expanding the community’s capacity to improve environmental quality by educating both children and adults. The fundamental aim of our education efforts is that pro-conservation behaviour will be adopted within those communities currently exploiting natural resources, in the form of a reduction of resource extraction to sustainable levels and the elimination of illegal activities such as hunting of endangered wildlife. The central message we disseminate is that people need to protect their environment to ensure that successive generations have a chance for a good future, with the same ecosystem services they rely on. We encourage people of every age within and outside their community to work collectively by addressing their common interests.

The public sign a pledge to not buy a slow loris
Our long-term aim is to balance the inevitable conflict between short-term needs of local people and long-term benefits that conservation programmes can generate. If local people and the government recognise that preserving the environment provides socio-economic benefits, rainforests will survive as functional ecosystems, and the future of their inhabitants will be secured.

Our Education and Awareness Coordinator, Indri Hapsari, is currently focusing on community education aimed at children from ages of 10 up to 18 by giving presentations about biodiversity conservation and animal welfare at schools and our Slow Loris Awareness Campaign Coordinator, Indah Winarti is carrying out awareness activities by having information stands at local markets in the cities and at universities, as well as giving workshops in villages in habitat areas. Both are additionally raising awareness by providing important information and answering questions about the wildlife trade and conservation issues using social media like Facebook and Twitter.

Raising the profile of the plight of the slow loris
Engaging with young people to facilitate their personal, social and educational development and encourage them to become an active member of our awareness activities is a vital part of our work. We believe that educating the future generation at a young age to appreciate and conserve wild species will increase the effectiveness of our programme.

Another important part of our Slow Loris Awareness Campaign is to conduct seminars for governmental authorities to increase the awareness for this low-profile species.

Posters at a local market
There are three species of slow loris in Indonesia and all are threatened with extinction. The Javan slow loris has even been included in the “IUCN Red List of 25 Most Endangered Primates of the World”. Whilst habitat loss was once deemed the major threat to the survival of the slow loris, it has recently been suggested that trade, both for the pet market and traditional medicine, is having the greater impact on population numbers. Despite the national and international laws prohibiting the trade in slow lorises, they are sold openly in animal markets throughout Indonesia. The following-through of law enforcement is essential if current legal protection for Indonesian wildlife is to be effective.

See more pictures of our awareness building activities
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3 May 2012

In spite of her traumatic past, Peni is a happy, healthy, playful girl

Vet Jesus Mayoral provides an encouraging update on Peni, who was rescued from a horrific situation by our team in 2010...

Peni with her mother before her rescue.
Photo: Feri Latief
Peni was brought to IAR’s Centre in Ketapang at the end of October 2010. Despite starvation and the horrendous experience she had been through, she was in reasonably good physical condition when she arrived. IAR’s vets performed every routine test necessary to have a better picture of her physical condition. That was the first step to rehabilitate her, the easy one.

Peni now! Photo: Julie O'Neill
For Peni, and also for all the people involved in her rehabilitation, the most difficult task was to overcome the psycological trauma, but thanks to her strong nature and the company of fellow females Susi, Prima and Helen she did really well from the beginning.

During this year and a half she has been very healthy (just a minor flu last January) and playful. She likes to vocalise and show her emotions in this way. Recently she lost her upper milk incisors, which is the normal process at her age. Dentition is the clue to know the age of babies and children but it is not 100% accurate. Anyway, the loss of these teeth seems to confirm our initial guess. By now she must be around 6 years old, a healthy, strong girl, full of life, who hopefully will be ready before too long to go back to the forest!

30 April 2012

Enriching the lives of our primates

Volunteer Tine explains the importance of the enrichment programme to the primates – and the people – at our centre in Ciapus.
A schedule is prepared to ensure varied enrichment
To ensure high animal welfare standards at our centre we implemented an enrichment calendar in 2011 which makes sure that enrichment items vary and are given on a daily basis.

Enrichment is every addition to the environment of an animal in captivity that offers it the opportunity to behave naturally and therefore improve its welfare. We use enrichment mainly to stimulate natural behaviour, decrease abnormal behaviour, reduce boredom and to encourage activity. However, in order to conduct group-forming processes it can also be beneficial to manipulate social behaviour. One example is to provide enrichment items to keep dominant animals busy so others have time to relax and groom. If you are planning to introduce two animals to each other it can also be useful to see how the individuals react to new stimuli as a way to find out more about the character and behaviour of the animals.

The animals love a challenge
Another really important part of our work is the education of our animal keepers. We trained our local staff to take down behaviour using an ethogram (chart with behaviours represented by a code). This is usually done by university students and trained primatologists. They also learned how to use the collected data to create tables, graphics and presentations. By doing this, we can have a more objective method on collecting data of our animals at the centre. This is important to record an increase or decrease in abnormal behaviour, to observe if the provided enrichment has the desired effect and to measure the progress of an animal in the resocialisation and rehabilitation process.

Worms are hidden inside balls
Observations are particularly important before and after introductions. Like humans, apes and monkeys have different personalities and not everybody likes each other, so the recorded data show us if we have made a good choice for each individual. The more we understand about our animals individually, the more we can do to help provide them with a better life, particularly during captivity.

Seeds are stuck into melons
Whilst most of our local staff was sceptical about the reasons for enrichment and observations in the beginning, it is very nice to see that there has been a positive change in their attitude over time. As most of them didn’t get a chance to finish school, it makes them very happy to be able to learn how to use programmes like Microsoft Excel, Word and Powerpoint. At IAR, we believe that educating the local people is just as important as saving the animals!

A group of animal keepers is currently busy developing an enrichment catalogue showing how to create the different items we use. As soon as it is ready, it will be shared with other organisations and sanctuaries to encourage an active exchange of experiences.

18 April 2012

Lulu the slow loris makes a speedy getaway!

Most of the slow lorises that we care for arrive at our Primate Rehabilitation Centre in Ciapus, Java but vets were on hand recently to care for and release Lulu the slow loris from our Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Ketapang. Vet Silje Robertson tells us more...

Lulu ready for release
Not long ago a man brought a slow loris to our centre. He claimed it had appeared at his house the same day and offered to sell the animal to us. However, after some discussion he surrendered the animal to IAR. We gave her the name Lulu: she is an adult female with all her teeth intact and completely wild.  As she was slightly underweight we decided to delay the release for some days in order to make sure her medical condition was good and stable.

After a few days of recovering at the centre, we released her in the evening in the forest surrounding our new centre in Ketapang. There was nothing slow about her as she jetted out of the transportation cage and hurried up a tree close by! And who knows, maybe we will see her again someday after we make our big move.

As for the new centre, it is coming along in good speed. The foundation for the clinic and the quarantine area has already been started and it is very exciting to see the progress. View the photos on Facebook.

13 April 2012

Tulip and Pelangsi arrive, Ceria leaves the quarantine and Sigit and Ujang move to the big baby school

Vet Silje Robertson provides a round up of the latest news from our centre in Ketapang.

On Thursday afternoon last week our team set out on another confiscation action; this time in our own town of Ketapang. The owner contacted IAR and the forestry department himself and confessed to keeping a baby orangutan captive. The man claimed to have traded the animal for his gun a month earlier: the men he traded with said they had killed the baby’s mother and were going to kill the baby as well. She was given the name Tulip and was kept on a leash in a cage of about 2m² in their backyard. She was fed only with bananas and sweet biscuits. Tulip is naturally still scared, but is in good health and has a healthy appetite. For now she must settle for playing alone in the baby quarantine area, but as soon as she finishes her quarantine time she can join the others.

The team are working around the clock to save Pelangsi
The next day we received news of an orangutan being trapped in a wild boar snare in a forest area outside Ketapang; apparently for over a week! We rushed to the area and after a half hour trek in the forest we reached the site. We were all relieved to see that the animal, a young male, was still alive, although only barely. His right wrist was caught in the snare: a rope that lies covered under leaves on the ground and tightens and pulls upwards when the wild boar (or in this case the orangutan) steps in the loop. It soon became clear that his right hand could not be saved as what remained of the hand and wrist was only dead, severely infected tissue. We sedated him, freed him from the snare and gave him fluids as he was severely dehydrated before we transported him back to our clinic. He is given the name Pelangsi, after the area in which he was found. His condition is still very critical and he is not yet stable and strong enough to undergo surgery. Our medical team is working around the clock and we hope that Pelangsi will recover as soon as possible.

Ceria finished her quarantine period with flying colours last week and is now enjoying the playground in the baby school area. Albeit a bit hesitant in the beginning, now she seems to enjoy the company of her new friends. She has a bit more wild nature than our other babies and is bringing more speed in the game by climbing high and fast!

Sigit and Ujang were moved from the baby school to the back transit area with the older babies. This means going from an environment where you are the biggest and toughest to being the smallest! Sigit is adapting very well, but Ujang is not leaving Sigit’s side (or foot) and needs a bit more time to feel confident in the new area.