IAR takes on a new primate project in Indonesia
Following a factfinding mission to Indonesia by Alan Knight, IAR has agreed to become involved with the work of ProAnimalia and provide long term financial support for its work rescuing and rehabilitating primates, particularly macaques, lorises and orangutans, as well as the rehabilitation of Brahminy kites.
Since attending the Asia for Animals Conference in Singapore last year, IAR has been building a relationship with the Indonesian-based group Pro Animalia International which was founded in 2004 to protect Indonesian wildlife. Its goal is the rescue, rehabilitation and release of animals in need, but it also provides sanctuary for animals that can't be returned to the wild. Clearly the mission of this small non-profitmaking organisation is completely in tune with our own objectives at International Animal Rescue.
After three years running a wildlife rescue centre in Jakarta, the group is now working on the rescue and rehabilitation of primates - particularly macaques, lorises and orangutans, as well as raising awareness of the threats facing the Brahminy kite. This raptor is Indonesia's national bird, but sadly very popular as a pet and now highly endangered.
In July Alan travelled to Indonesia to meet with Karmele Sanchez, Femke Den Haas and Femke van den Bos of ProAnimalia and discuss how IAR could best support their projects. He went with them by boat to Kotok Island which lies within the Thousand Islands National Park, north of Jakarta, to see the project to reintroduce Brahminy kites to the area. ProAnimalia has built three big bamboo pre-release cages which extend out over the sea and here the birds learn to fly and catch fish again. After several months of observation and check-ups by ProAnimalia vets, the birds are released back into their natural environment. So far ProAnimalia has released 30 birds and is working with local universities on the post-release programme.
From Kotok they travelled on by small wooden boat to an island sanctuary where the rescued macaques are released. There are various species of macaques living in different parts of Indonesia. Some species have no protection and are cruelly exploited and absued. They are often kept as pets under ghastly conditions or even horrifically killed for human consumption. There are no rescue centres in Indonesia for these primates. ProAnimalia helps the macaques by:
- educating people in animal welfare and raising awareness of the risk of zoonotic diseases
- fighting the trade
- hands-on rescue
- campaigning to raise their status and win them some protection in Indonesia
After rescue, medical check-ups and treatment and a quarantine period, the macaques are socialised in groups where they can play and learn to behave like monkeys again. These groups are then released on the sanctuary islands north of Jakarta. ProAnimalia desperately needs to establish a permanent rescue and rehabilitation centre for the macaques where they can be prepared for release onto the islands. At the moment some of them are being kept in small cages with no room to exercise or express natural behaviour. During the trip Alan visited a piece of land that has been given on long-term loan to ProAnimalia for a sanctuary. He was also taken to Kalimantan in Borneo to see hundreds of orangutans that are being cared for by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation. Here again there is an urgent need for funding to keep the project afloat.
Having seen for himself what valuable work ProAnimalia is doing, Alan felt comfortable committing International Animal Rescue to becoming involved and giving long term financial support to their projects. He made an immediate payment of $10,000 to help them set up the new centre and IAR will also be providing funding for the running costs of the sanctuary and release sites, as well as towards some specific aspects of the project, such as fencing and new socialisation cages for the primates prior to release, a new boat to cut down the lengthy hours spent transporting them to the islands, and veterinary equipment including an endoscope to simplify the surgical sterilisation of the females before release.
ProAnimalia is already achieving a great deal with very limited resources. Fortunately, International Animal Rescue is now in a strong enough position to support and assist with these efforts to rescue and protect some of the most neglected and abused wildlife in Indonesia.