28 February 2012

Noel joins us, Ongky and Puyol move on to ‘big school’ and Butan finally meets the other babies

Vet Silje Robertson updates us on how the babies are getting on at our emergency rescue centre in Ketapang
In this month we welcomed Noel as our newest orangutan. He was in good physical shape when he came to us but it soon became clear that he was mentally traumatized by everything that had happened to him. We will never know for certain what his story is, but there are many indicators that he has not been with humans for very long. For example when we brought him leaves he immediately began padding them down as if wanting to make a nest, skills he has most probably learned from his mother. Noel is still anxious and does not like being left alone – even just for a second, but he is becoming more and more independent and once he finishes his quarantine period he can start socializing with the other orangutans.

Ongky and Puyol
A few weeks ago Ongky and Puyol were moved from the baby school play area to the transit play area. The reason for this was that the two boys were becoming rougher in their play and it was clear that they needed more space and challenges. In the back transit area we have many platforms, larger areas and more trees than in the baby school area. After an initial health check with good results the two were moved. The first period they clung to each other and to the baby sitter more than they played, obviously a bit overwhelmed by the new surroundings and playmates. After some time though they both became braver and now they are well adapted and seemingly enjoying all the new space and playmates.

Butan and Rahayo
It was a very happy month for all of us as Butan, the female 4 year old orangutan who was rescued in November last year, was finally introduced to the other babies in the baby school play area. As you may remember, Butan suffered from a malaria infection and severe malnourishment when she first arrived at the centre, and was critically ill for many weeks. Still she has not reached the appropriate weight for her age but in the last weeks she has been getting stronger (and cheekier) and has been healthy with a good appetite. She prefers to play mostly on her own off the ground, but will join in and battle the others when there is enrichment. The other babies leave her for the most part in peace, with the exception of Rahayo who constantly tries to get her in on the play. The two malaria sisters! It has been a very long process and it is extremely rewarding to see her climbing the platforms and trees in the play ground.

In the case of Ujil, the young male we sadly were not able to confiscate last month, there is still no concrete news. Our team is constantly cooperating with other organizations, the police and the forestry department in order to find a solution as soon as possible.

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