17 May 2013

International Animal Rescue: Three more lives saved

by Christine Nelson

The International Animal Rescue team in Indonesia has been under a lot of pressure with several urgent rescues coming hot on the heels of the well publicised translocations of four orangutans, stranded and starving in devastated forest.

The team was called to help help an orangutan who was getting dangerously close to humans due to habitat loss.  The rescue team traveled to Sukamaju, which is only about 30 minutes from the centre, and was able to capture the large but thin male.  After a short time of stabilisation, he was then translocated to a larger area of forest where our field team has reported seeing him again, but with a healthier body condition.

Sukma is wary but coping well with her new situation
The next week, two more  babies came under the team’s care.  The first, named Sukma, is more wild in nature and had been taken in by a man after he found her on a rambutan (fruit) plantation near a palm oil plantation.  She is about 4 years old and was too much for the man to handle, so IAR was called in.  There is no indication of what happened to her mother.  She remains very cautious of humans, but is doing fine in quarantine. 

Hopefully Gembar will soon be able
to join the other babies in the
forest enclosure
Gembar is the name of the second baby, aged about two and a half to three years old. She had been in the care of a family for one year.  They were out fishing one day and found her after she had supposedly been left by her mother – something we know to be very unlikely.  She had been receiving weekly baths, and was let out of her cage to play once a week as well.  Her diet was lacking in fruits and vegetables, and consisted mostly of milk, rice, and fish.  She is adjusting well and awaiting further medical checks.

The work carried by our project teams in the field is nothing short of heroic, and we are frequently amazed and awed by the lengths they go to protecting and rescuing orangutans, often putting themselves in tremendous danger themselves. Please show them your support!

9 May 2013

Spring update from International Animal Rescue

by vet Christine Nelson

Spring has sprung in Sungai Awan, and all the babies and juveniles have now arrived at their new forest home and are ready to take part in the rehabilitation process.

New arrivals Tribun and Onyo have both graduated from quarantine and are finding their place within the small baby group. Amin has also gained medical clearance, and he is learning the routine fast and making new friends in the forest clan.
Onyo is settling down with his new friends in the
baby group, and practices climbing trees each day
Even though the location is new, the population density of orangutans is unnaturally high, and the their mischievous and destructive play behavior is taking its toll on the trees. Saving more forested land for future use is still a priority for the further development of these young animals. As their individual skills are revealed, groups are being formed to encourage the rest to learn from those who are more forest savvy. Some clever orangutans are even making decent nests and choosing to spend the occasional night in the forest. The team is working hard to keep order, although some orangutans seem to want to follow a schedule of their own...!

The team is also creating new protocols to ensure the health, safety, and happiness of all the animals and workers. We have also started to implant radio-tracking transmitters in some of the orangutans we release back into the wild, so that in the future we can follow these orangutans closely and learn from their trials and successes in the field.