Orangutan Foundation vet – infant orangutan’s inflamed air sacs

Blogpost by Dr Steven, the Orangutan Foundation’s vet.

I went to Camp Rasak, in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve (Indonesian Borneo) to check the condition of infant orangutan Ariel. Camp staff were concerned and had reported seeing Ariel with enlarged air sacs around his throat.  Ariel is Acuy’s son and aged about 22 months.

Infant Bornean orangutan Ariel, showing the inflamed air sacs around his throat.

Infant Bornean orangutan Ariel, showing the inflamed air sacs around his throat.

We arrived by speedboat and immediately began our search for Acuy and Ariel.

Adult female orangutan Acuy with infant Ariel and their 'adopted' orangutan companion, Kotim.

Adult female orangutan Acuy with infant Ariel and their ‘adopted’ orangutan companion, Kotim.

 

 

Dr Steven preparing the anaesthetic .

Dr Steven preparing the anaesthetic .

Once located we had to first anaesthetise Acuy, using a blowpipe and anaesthetic dart. After Acuy was sedated, Camp staff helped hold Ariel so he could be further examined.

Darting adult female orangutan Acuy in order to examine her son, Ariel.

Darting adult female orangutan Acuy in order to examine her son, Ariel.

I give a with very low dose of anaesthetic to Ariel because he was stressed. After Ariel calmed, I start taking samples in the neck area. It turns out there’s no fluid, which indicates the absence of bacterial infection and it only contained air.

Examining and treating infant Borneo orangutan, Ariel.

Examining and treating infant Borneo orangutan, Ariel.

After that, I take blood samples, give vitamin injection and de-worming drugs to Ariel and Acuy.

Treating adult Bornean orangutan, Acuy with de-worming medication.

Treating adult Bornean orangutan, Acuy with de-worming medication.

Monitoring is conducted periodically and on a recent routine visit to Camp Rasak I was pleased to see Ariel already doesn’t have any enlargement of air sacs around the neck.

Acuy and Ariel, fit and well. With Kotim, a 5-year-old orangutan who was released in April 2016.

Acuy and Ariel, fit and well. With Kotim, a 5-year-old orangutan who was released in April 2016.

Mother and son (and their companion Kotim, who was released in April 2016, and seems to like hanging around with them) fit and healthy.

Thank you.

Join the Orangutan Foundation to support this work or adopt Okto, one of our orphaned orangutans.

 

Second chance for blind orangutan

A blind Bornean orangutan, who was rescued from an oil-palm plantation, may have her sight restored and live in the wild again. The Orangutan Foundation have been caring for the orangutan, named Aan, since 2012 when she was found with 104 air rifle pellets in her, 37 lodged in her head. A three-hour operation removed 32 of the pellets but she was left blind which meant she couldn’t be returned to the wild.

Blind Bornean orangutan, named Aan, is currently blind in both eyes.

Blind Bornean orangutan, named Aan, is currently blind in both eyes.

An ophthalmic surgeon, Claudia Hartley, visited Aan to assess the permanence of her blindness.  On examination, the ophthalmologist discovered there is a very high chance of restoring sight to one of Aan’s eyes.

Ophthalmic surgeon examining Bornean orangutan's eye

Ophthalmic surgeon examining Bornean orangutan’s eye

 

 

Ophthalmic surgeon, Claudia Hartley, examines Aan's eye.

Ophthalmic surgeon, Claudia Hartley, examines Aan’s eye.

Claudia Hartley will return to Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, with colleagues and specialist equipment in February 2017. They will operate to remove a cataract and, if successful, Aan will be returned to the wild, despite still being blind in one eye.

X-ray taken in 2012 of Bornean orangutan, Aan's skull, showing pellets.

X-ray taken in 2012 of Bornean orangutan, Aan’s skull, showing pellets.

Aan is currently living in a purpose-built enclosure in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, which is where she will also hopefully begin her transition to living wild again.

Blind Bornean orangutan, Aan, in her enclosure, in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Borneo

Blind Bornean orangutan, Aan, in her enclosure, in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Borneo

 

The Orangutan Foundation actively protect the forests and precious wildlife within with guard posts and river patrols. This year, an extension to the Reserve was agreed by the Indonesian Government, adding an area the size of Guernsey to the protected forests. At a time when orangutans are critically endangered, due to habitat loss, this is a conservation success story.

Support the Orangutan Foundation and have your donation doubled through the Big Give Christmas Challenge from midday Tuesday 29 November to midday Friday 2 December https://secure.thebiggive.org.uk/project/futurefororangutans

Thank you,

Orangutan Foundation

 

A big thank you from Borneo

Orangutan Foundation staff have sent a thank you message from Borneo to all those who helped to raise awareness and funds during Orangutan Awareness Week.

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A thank you message from Orangutan Foundation staff in Indonesia.

In particular, thank you to All Things Wild, who ran a Primate Week and hosted a talk by Cathy Smith from Orangutan Foundation. After the talk Cathy said “it was wonderful to meet people who had been out to visit or volunteer for the Orangutan Foundation in Borneo but it was also great to talk to many new and interested people, who turned out on a cold and wet November evening!”.

Rickshaw Travel helping to raise awareness and funds for orangutan Foundation.

Rickshaw Travel helping to raise awareness and funds for orangutan Foundation.

Thanks also to Rickshaw Travel for raising awareness all week and organising their own ginger bake off in aid of the Orangutan Foundation. Thanks to Sunnyside Primary School for going orange and to our dedicated member Steph Brown for her chocolate fundraiser.

The deadline has now passed for the Great Orangutan Bake Off #GOBO competition but thanks to those who entered. We will reveal the star bakers once our judges, Patrick Aryee and Ian Cumming have made their decisions!

Finally, save the dates!  29 November to 2 December. Your donations will be doubled through the Big Give Christmas Challenge and will help us to protect orangutan habitat.

Thank you!

Orangutan Foundation

The Situation Worsens

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Kolam was found stranded by the roadside.

The Orangutan Foundation recently learned news of yet another orangutan found stranded with nowhere to go. Kolam, a male of around 10 years of age, is the ninth orangutan to have been found by the same stretch of road, built in the past few years to connect two towns. Before this road was built the only way to get to and from these towns was by boat, consequently people can now access areas of land they couldn’t before.

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The road where many orangutans have become stranded.

Kolam’s nest can be seen in the tree, with the road in the foreground.

Kolam’s nest can be seen in the tree, with the road in the foreground.

 The forest which once stood is being cleared and orangutans, trying to reach a fruiting tree which once grew, are finding themselves stranded, surrounded by roads and villages.

Kolam was darted with a sedative during the rescue.

Kolam was darted with a sedative during the rescue.

Orangutan Foundation staff translocated Kolam whilst sedated.

Orangutan Foundation staff translocated Kolam whilst sedated.

Once anaesthetized, the rescue team had to carry the heavy orangutan through difficult terrain.

Once anaesthetized, the rescue team had to carry the heavy orangutan through difficult terrain.

 Blood sampling results showed the orangutan to be in good health and free from contagious diseases which meant Kolam was released back into the wild in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan.

 

Kolam took immediately to the trees upon release.

Kolam took immediately to the trees upon release.

Kolam has now been returned to the forest.

Kolam has now been returned to the forest.

Dr. Ade Soeharso, our Program Manager in Indonesia congratulated the hard work of the excellent rescue team.

The rescue team.

The rescue team.

Please consider a donation to help the Foundation with our ever-growing need for more facilities to care for rescued orangutans.

 

(VIDEO) Rawit’s Release

Two days ago the reintroduction team of the Orangutan Foundation successfully released another orangutan back into the forest of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve where she belongs.

Found tied up in a villager’s backyard just 2 weeks ago, this 5 year old female orangutan known as Rawit is now happily living back in the forest. A previously reintroduced female has taken her under her wing. Visit our blog for the story of her release.

We thank wildlife photographer and Orangutan Foundation supporter Ian Wood for documenting her release. For more information on Ian’s work visit his website http://www.agoodplace.co.uk

The Story of Rawit

Rawit was found bound tightly to a tree.

Rawit was found bound tightly to a tree. Photo Credit: COP

Once again we are seeing what happens to orangutans when they are stranded in pockets of forest with oil-palm on one side and villages on the other. On 18th October, a female orangutan of around 5 years of age was rescued in Central Kalimantan. This is the story of Rawit, as sent by our vet just a few days ago.

BKSDA (Indonesian Nature Conservation Agency) staff received news from local police that villagers had a young orangutan in their possession that they wished to surrender.

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Foundation staff collaborated with staff from BKSDA and Indonesian conservation organisation Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP) to rescue Rawit.

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Members of BKSDA, COP and local police carried out the confiscation. Photo Credit: COP

When the team arrived to confiscate Rawit, it was noticed immediately that her limbs were very swollen, especially her left wrist, as a result of being tied up.

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Rawit’s limbs were swollen from ropes used to tie her to a tree.

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Rawit in transit during the rescue. Photo Credit: COP

Shortly after the rescue, Rawit was placed in the Foundation’s care. After a couple of days of being cared for by our staff, the swelling was significantly reduced and Rawit was able to grasp the side of her cage which she couldn’t before.

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Foundation vet carrying out health checks on Rawit.

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Rawit is now being cared for by the Orangutan Foundation.

Rawit has now joined our soft-release programme within the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve where staff will continue to monitor and support her progress until she is considered ready for release.

To help us provide Rawit and other orangutans on our soft-release programme with the very best care, please consider adopting an orangutan. All proceeds go directly towards supporting the Foundation’s soft-release programme.

A Race to Freedom

We recently received news from the field of a rescue which did not go as planned, but nevertheless resulted in success.

Last week, Orangutan Foundation staff received reports from the local village of Pangkalan Lima of a sun bear trapped in a villager’s well. The smallest of the world’s eight living bear species, the Bornean sun bear is also the least studied, with little known about its biology or range.

Sun bear trapped in the well

The sun bear was trapped in a well.

Our vet first anaesthetised the bear in order for staff to be able to safely remove the bear without injury to either party. A net was used to lift the bear up from the well.

OF staff used a net to lift the bear out of the well

OF staff used a net to lift the bear out of the well.

 

The Foundation vet took blood samples which were taken to test for diseases which may have left the bear vulnerable following release. Test results later showed the bear to be in good health.

When managing the rescue and translocation of wild animals there is always a degree of unpredictability as to how the animal itself will react. The bear was placed within a cage whilst still sedated ready for translocation into the forest nearby.

The bear was placed in a cage until release

The bear was placed in a cage whilst sedated.

But after two hours, staff found the bear had escaped! It took a further two hours to successfully recapture the bear from BKSDA grounds, where it was swiftly moved to a stronger cage until its release.

Later that evening it was further transferred to a safer cage overnight, as staff were still worried he could bite his way through the second cage. The bear was clearly very wild and needed to return to the forest, and staff successfully released it the next day in camp Siswoyo in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

OF staff raise the door of the cage at the moment of release

OF staff raise the door of the cage at the moment of release.

Foundation staff are encountering a rise in the number of animals in need of translocation as they come in increasing contact with growing human settlements. Make a donation to ensure the Foundation can continue to keep the surrounding protected areas free from human development so that animals we rescue such as this sun bear have forest to return to.

The sun bear disappeared into the forest immediately following release

The sun bear disappeared into the forest immediately following release.

Herni – another orangutan rescued and released.

We have just received a report from our reintroduction manager, Azhari, about a recently rescued orangutan.

Herni

Herni is a young female orangutan with a tremendous wild spirit. She was handed over to the Indonesian authorities by a local community, near Sampit (Indonesian Borneo), at the end of June.  Herni was taken to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, an area which the Orangutan Foundation actively protect with guard posts and patrols.  For three weeks Herni was looked after at Camp Siswoyo, one of six orangutan release camps, in the Reserve.

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Camp staff report that she doesn’t make the tidiest nests to sleep in and sometimes she adds branches to old nests to fix them and make them stronger. As you would expect from an orangutan, she travels well through the trees rarely descending to the forest floor. On the 26th August, the Orangutan Foundation staff decided that Herni was ready for soft release. This means being monitored and followed by the camp staff from dawn to dusk for 20 days.  Not as easy as it sounds!

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Reports so far show that Herni is doing really well, eating the correct foods and following adult females to learn from them what foods to eat. The daily ranging that Herni is doing is between 600m and 1km. The good news is while Herni follows the other orangutans, she rarely goes down to the ground. Sometimes, the staff lost her because she likes to move in the forest canopy, just like an orangutan should, whilst the staff are having to climb over tree roots and wade through swamps. Our staff are experts in the forests and so she doesn’t get lost for long.

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Please consider making a donation to support our ongoing work protecting this important forest reserve and its precious inhabitants.

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Thank you

Orangutan Foundation

Adventures in Borneo

This summer I had the unique opportunity to visit Central Kalimantan to see the area in which the Orangutan Foundation operates. I have been interning with the Foundation for 4 months, and I’m familiar with many of the areas they protect, although by name only. Therefore, it was a pleasure to see these landmarks in the flesh and meet the Indonesian team that work so hard to protect them.

The various camps are most easily reached via Kalimantan’s river systems. As I travelled down river by speedboat, the waterfront houses of Pangkalan Bun quickly turned into dense forest. Noteworthy sightswere various indicators of habitat loss, such as logs being transported towards the town. Kingfishers darted in front of the boat so fast that getting a good photo was impossible!

Whizzing down these waterways was the highlight of my trip

Whizzing down these waterways was the highlight of my trip

I first visited the site of the new guard post where this year’s volunteers were making excellent headway into its construction. The volunteers were a hardworking, dedicated bunch from all walks of life! They were all dedicated to the cause and felt genuine, collective concern for the threat of habitat loss, highlighted by the constant stream of reminders around them. They spoke of awaking to the sound of chainsaws, highlighting the need for a guard post in the area.

Myself, some of the Indonesian staff, and our volunteers!

Myself, some of the Indonesian staff, and our volunteers!

Afterward, I got to visit Camp Buluh. This is the current home of Sugih, a 5-year-old female who was rescued by OF, previously kept as a pet. Foundation staff informed me that she had made good progress, she was behaving as a wild orangutan should – encouraging news.

Sugih being helped into the trees to practise nest building

Sugih being helped into the trees to practise nest building

The next day was the volunteer’s day off, and I was lucky enough to join them to visit Camp JL, where Okto and Ketty are currently being cared for, and Camp Gemini. Okto and Ketty were a lively duo to watch, and really quite amusing, with Okto dropping to the ground at one stage and crossing his arms as if to say “I am not doing any more nest-building practice!”. Hopefully in time he’ll exhibit less of this behaviour, as wild orangutans are rarely seen on the forest floor.

Okto swinging around in the trees above us.

Okto swinging around in the trees above us

Camp Gemini’s feeding station was a hive of activity; we saw many mothers with infants who inhabited the forest nearby. They began to crowd around with the promise of fresh fruit! We even saw a wild male, enticed by the fruit – and the females!

Hola Honolulu looking decidedly comfortable in the company of a wild male

Hola Honolulu looking decidedly comfortable in the company of a wild male

On my last day, I was taken to visit Pondok Ambung, the Foundation’s research station situated within Tanjung Puting National Park. There were 15 camera traps placed around this area which provided evidence of a plethora of wildlife who call this National Park home.

Pondok Ambung staff member checking the camera traps for new images

Pondok Ambung staff member checking the camera traps for new images

We then visited the famed Camp Leakey where I saw a gibbon amongst the orangutans visiting the feeding station, which moved too swiftly through the tree tops for a photo! The traffic caused by the tourist’s klotoks was really a sight to behold, displaying how popular this area has become with people from around the world.

The journey back to Kumai was magical, made so by numerous orangutans who had begun to make their nests by the river’s edge.

Orangutan by the river’s edge looking as interested in me as I was in her

Orangutan by the river’s edge looking as interested in me as I was in her

I had a fantastic time visiting this wonderland that so many orangutans call home. I would urge anybody who has not already done so to check out the various trips available to visit for themselves, particularly the Volunteer Programme (http://www.orangutan.org.uk/orangutan-tours). I’ve definitely received a ginger thumbs up from the orangutans in the area, as well as being made to feel very welcome by the excellent Indonesian staff members. Many thanks and hoping I’ll be back soon!

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The Promise of Nature

Dull and grey, those are the two main words used to describe the cities of the world today.

My home is a forest, well it is to me, but to everyone else it’s a colossal, unoxygenated, city of grey. Why they cut down trees I don’t know, probably money. Why is money “so” important to people? I really don’t know? It’s stupid that money is so important to the world, it’s not important, you don’t “need” it to live life happily, all you need is friends and family.

Before they cut it down, the forest was happy and lively. My line of family had lived there for generations and by living off the land they all had happy lives, and I did too until the loggers came…they made me and my friends and family leave the forest and everything I knew and loved.

What happened then I can’t and don’t want to remember, but the one thing that I do remember is that before I left the forest, curse those loggers, I filled a duffle bag full of acorns, just in case.

Turns out I did need them.

When I came back to where I came from, it looked exactly the opposite of how I remember. It was dull and grey, and the only animals were depressed, grey pets, rats and flies, the people were the same as the pets, depressed and grey.

I hated it, the city and the people, but worst of all was the grey. I had to do something then I found it, the duffle bag. Of course, I can plant trees, shrubs and flowers all over the city and maybe, just maybe, all over the world!

I started with my street, planting in every crack in the pavement, in gardens and balconies. Bit by bit, the city began to be more colourful and more importantly, the people were starting to talk and laugh together and be happy. At last my home was happy and lively again. I moved on to another city and did the same and another and another and do on until all the cities of the world were the same as the first one, happy and colourful.

SeedlingsBy Charles Saunders, aged 9