19 November 2013

International Animal Rescue: Arrival of new rescue Rika

by volunteer Lisa Burtenshaw

At the end of October the team was called out to the village of Tumbang Titi, a four hour drive from Ketapang, to rescue a young orangutan called Rika, who was being kept as a pet.

This orangutan was chained to the house of her ownerRika is about three years old and her owners said they had been keeping her for the last three months, but we suspect she has been a pet for much longer as she is very habituated to people. Her last owner had paid about $50 for her and implied that he would like money for handing her over to us. But we will never pay for an orangutan because it only encourages the trade in them. 

Although Rika was kept in a small cage, she also spent time chained by the neck under the house, along with a dog and a pig. She was sometimes let off her chain and would go and make a nest, but would always return for food. She has some wounds on her neck from the chain and a skin infection but both are now being treated by our medical staff and are healing well. 
Rika is now in quarantine at the orangutan rescue centre

Rika’s hair is in poor condition as a result of a diet of vegetables and rice, but this will improve now she is being fed more suitable and nutritious food.

Rika is now in quarantine and has had a few health tests for which we are awaiting results. She has a very sweet personality and vocalises for attention.

4 November 2013

International Animal Rescue: October Orangutan Update

Rescued orangutan Santi is doing well post rescueThe beginning of October bought us new arrival Santi. She is about three years old and has had a chain of different owners; we think she originally came from the area of Singkup. She was surrendered to BKSDA (forestry department), who handed her over to us. We know very little about her background, but at her last placement she had been fed cake and bread and been kept in a cage. Santi looks to be in reasonable condition, with a coat of long, healthy hair but is currently in quarantine where she is waiting for test results to come back before we move her into one of the other groups.

Lots of the orangutans have been moved about this month. Cinta was the first to go into one of the new large socialisation cages. She can be quite destructive, but she is also easier to handle than a lot of the older girls, which makes her a good test case to see if the cages can stand up to the other strong and dextrous orangutans!

All our orangutans from the old transit site have now been moved to the new Sungai Awan site. It requires a lot of planning and co-ordinating to move the older orangutans. First they are sedated and while they are out the medical team do lots of health checks and test on them. They are weighed and measured, have hair and blood samples taken so that their general health can be tested for liver and kidney function and blood count. TB test are done by taking x-rays, a skin test, blood test and tracheal wash. Their teeth are also checked and photographed. A good way to tell the age of an orangutan is by their teeth. They are then put into transportation cages to come round from the anaesthesia, put onto a truck and driven to Sungai Awan, which is about thirty minutes drive out of Ketapang town. They watch with curiosity and interest at the world going by. Both Neng and Suki were immediately put into one of the new socialisation cages, which they both climbed to the top off and surveyed their new surroundings.

The old cages from transit centre are also being moved to the new site, where they are being repaired, repainted and refitted with new enrichment, thanks to the great work of The Orangutan Project volunteers, who have been working tirelessly to get the concrete bases and cages ready while competing with the tropical heat and monsoon storms now the rainy season has arrived.

Nicky, Huta, Mona and Mely have now all been reunited and are also now in one of the other large socialisation cages. Nicky was moved to the new centre a while ago when she was ill and she had been alone in the quarantine building while being treated and making a full recovery. She is such a friendly and playful orangutan that this was a joy to see her reunited with her old friends. They greeted each other with big hugs and now have fun chasing each other around and playing together.     
Pelangi is learning the ropesNow Pelangi has finished quarantine, she is being slowly introduced to the other members in baby school. Noel and Gunung took a lot of interest in her, manhandling her a lot, though she gave as good as she got! Marie is doing brilliantly, she loves exploring and climbing high in the trees, she often does this on her own, but likes to spend time with Gembar, who is also another great climber. As Marie is so small she still receives supplementary food from her carers. Onyo is now becoming more independent of the baby sitters. 

Kiki is doing well after being treated for a large load of intestinal parasites after living in a tiny cage full of excrement. We are awaiting results from his first quarantine exam, but he is still calm and gentle.

Ael, whose tragic story you can read here has now finished her quarantine. She is very nervous of humans and has the behaviour of a wild orangutan, She vocalises and shakes things to show her displeasure when she sees humans. We have introduced her to Sukma, another wild, but young female and we hope that Sukma will learn more from Ael to keep her wild behaviours. They are getting on well, sharing food and Ael reminds Sukma to be wary around humans. We plan to release them together when a suitable release site is found. 

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