31 January 2013

January Update from International Animal Rescue: The Orangutan Babies Move Closer to Freedom!

The beginning of 2013 is proving to be exciting and eventful! On January 21st, the Ketapang baby school orangutans made the move to our new center in the village of Sungai Awan. 

The group handled the 25 minute drive well and spent the rest of the day and night getting used to the sights and sounds of their new surroundings in the habituation cages. The next morning, they were introduced into the forest school enclosure, where they will learn what it takes to live like wild orangutans. 

Merah, Galang, and Marcela took to the trees straight away, which was not surprising given their more feral nature. They have been busy building nests and have also taken turns being the one who is reluctant to return to the cage for the night. Butan is one of the fastest climbers, and spends much of her time patrolling the treetops in search of ant nests. Big boy Roy and little Jacky have surprisingly shown some confidence while going high in the trees, and Ceria looks good while swinging there as well. Jack seems to be happiest when acting tough, and he makes a mess by breaking off all the dead branches he can find.
Roy enjoying a snack mid-swing

Both the animals and staff are getting used to the new routine, and we are constantly looking  for the best ways to teach the skills needed for survival and to encourage those individuals who require a little more help.

Joyce shows off her climbing skills
Joyce remains very active and is a clever little girl.  Her medical procedures went well, and the results look good!  In a short time, she will finish her initial isolation period and can be introduced to the group and the forest.  She has been the first to use the accommodation in the spectacular new building dedicated solely to quarantine.  We are trying to wean her off close contact with humans as she is still very dependent on people after living with a family for a year. Joyce is gaining some confidence while climbing in the trees and loves to be outside.  When the wind blows, she opens her mouth wide and lets her tongue taste the breeze.

There will certainly be further news shortly as preparations are made to move more individuals in the near future. 

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23 January 2013

Primate diaries from International Animal Rescue's primate centre in Ciapus, Java

Slow loris Marta’s successful return to her natural habitat
On 12 January 2013, a rescued and released Javan slow loris, Marta, had her radio collar removed and was once again free in her natural habitat. Since being released into the Gunung Halimun-Salak National Park in December 2011, she had been carefully watched for a period of 13 months by the IAR loris monitoring team.
Marta's radio-collar is finally removed
Marta was among a number of lorises confiscated from the illegal trade and brought to the IAR Rescue Centre in Java in 2010. She spent a number of months in rehabilitation before she was deemed a suitable candidate for the systematic release programme currently underway. Equipped with a radio-collar, she was first released on Salak Mountain back in May 2010. Unfortunately, after only three weeks she travelled down the mountain and into a village, where there was a risk she would be captured again and sold in one of the notorious pet-markets located nearby. She was caught by the IAR monitoring team and brought back to the centre where she received further rehabilitation. In December 2011 she was released again in a different area of the mountain.

Undergoing further rehabilitation
This time she travelled across the mountain from the habituation cage and quickly established a home range in which she remained for the next 12 months. The monitoring team recorded her movements, her feeding habits and her social behaviour allowing an evaluation of the success of the rehabilitation-release process.
Climbing confidently into the canopy

During the monitoring period she was seen on numerous occasions in close proximity to wild lorises and on one occasion was seen copulating. After a year the IAR medical team climbed up the mountain to give Marta one last check-up and ensure she was fit and healthy and ready for life on her own. Marta’s condition was extremely good and her body weight had remained stable over the 13 months. After her collar was cut off she confidently and quickly climbed up into the canopy and disappeared from sight.

16 January 2013

News of the latest arrival at International Animal Rescue’s centre in Ketapang

by Vet Christine Nelson

On 13 January we accepted a new arrival at the emergency care center in Ketapang. Her name is Joyce and she had been living with a family for about a year before she was surrendered into our care with the assistance of the Forestry Department of Ketapang (BKSDA Ketapang). She completed the journey from Kendawangan (3 hours south of Ketapang) dressed in the baby clothes she has been used to wearing, and still clean from her daily baths. Joyce has been living closely with humans in the comfort of air conditioning and a bed to sleep in at night, so she will have some big adjustments to make. She appears to be in good health, but her previous diet consisted mostly of rice and milk, so we have already begun the transition to a more complete and nutritious diet.
Joyce on arrival at the rescue centre
Her caretakers originally obtained her from a man who was trying to trade her for some petrol for his motorbike. She must have been only a few months old at the time, as she is just over a year old now.  Unfortunately, this probably means that her orangutan mother died or, more likely, was killed. 

Joyce has lots of energy and has been keeping us busy as she loves to be on the move. Once she passes her health screening tests and her quarantine period is up, we plan to move her to the new rehabilitation center where she can learn about forest life from the other orangutans and the spacious natural environment.

9 January 2013

December Update from the International Animal Rescue Orangutan Centre in Ketapang

Pelangsi is set free and planning starts for the move to the new centre

by Vet Christine Nelson

Pelangsi climbs to freedom
The biggest news in December was, of course, the long-awaited release of Pelangsi into his new  forest home.  A lot of hard work and preparation went into that day, but the team effort paid off and his fond farewell was a terrific achievement.  Behavioral observations are underway and assessments are being made for the next group that will be scheduled for release in the future.

The holidays came and went in a blur as usual, and although nobody likes to step on a scale this time of year, we have begun measuring the weights of the juveniles in our transit area more often.  This will allow us to better assess their nutrition and ensure they are growing properly.  Melky, Bunga, Ongky and the rest are doing well, and it is easier to catch them on their way in for the night as they are often too anxious to go out to the playground earlier in the day to bother being weighed.  Ucil has graduated and is now hanging out with the older babies, which has him spending more time playing and less time trying to escape.

Ucil lends Ceria a hand
Galang is fitting in well in baby school and the novelty of his plentiful haircoat has worn off.  When he was first introduced, Roy and many others followed him closely for a chance to feel or tug his flowing locks.  Rocky is developing some more muscle by trying to keep up with the bigger babies and is now happily eating a variety of fruits and vegetables.  Rickina suffered a little setback with an injury to one of her arms, but she is recovering quickly. Part of her treatment has been rest, which she has decided is no fun, making it difficult to keep her contained.
Construction continues at the new center, so we are using the time to prepare equipment and supplies that will need to be moved.  Also, plans are being made and new protocols designed to ensure that daily activities will run smoothly once we are able to settle in.

Galang learns the ropes