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.