Our visit with International Animal Rescue‘s (IAR) veterinary staff of five, led by Dr. Karmele Llano Sanchez and Dr. Adi Irawan, highlighted the urgent need to rescue orangutans from illegal possession as well as heighten community awareness to keep orangutans free and wild in Gunung Palung National Park and adjacent protected lands. Sixty-four orangutans ranging from orphaned neonates to rescued adults inhabit the new 60-acre rehabilitation center between ASRI Klinik in Sukadana and Ketapang.
The younger orangutans leap and swing overhead in the treetops, following their caregivers across the forested rehabilitation center. Impressive progress has been made over the past two years since our last visit to IAR. The new two-phase $2 million rehabilitation center’s master plan is well on its way to being realized. Phase 1’s campus with five new buildings, including a well-equipped veterinary clinic with radiology, surgical and diagnostic facilities in addition to quarantine, diet prep, dormitory and keeper support buildings, all provide the best resources anywhere to care for orangutans in need. Vertical climbing structures and spacious pens have been constructed with many more currently underway. IAR has worked diligently with the community to save orangutans and habitat through education outreach, purchase and protection of habitat as well as joining the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) for discussions promoting protection of endangered forest.
All of the antibiotics and parasite medicine purchased by Seneca Park Zoo’s American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) Chapter were a welcomed addition to the clinic’s pharmacy. We enjoyed discussing very similar clinical challenges providing the best medical care to orangutans, be they in tropical Ketapang, Indonesia or snowy Rochester. Throughout our experiences and discussions we continued our “One Medicine – One Health” theme, connecting IAR orangutan and ASRI villager health initiatives all promoting a healthy habitat for wildlife and people.
– Dr. Jeff Wyatt, veterinarian