International Animal Rescue appeals for funds for "Mely's Island"
International Animal Rescue is appealing for funds to purchase a small island in Western Borneo to give Mely and the other adult orangutans at IAR’s temporary rescue centre their first taste of freedom.
Mely was rescued by IAR’s team in October 2010 and currently lives in the emergency rescue centre in Ketapang in a cage with female friends Nicky, Mona and Huta. Also living there are adult males such as Monte, who was kept in a cage so small he couldn’t stand up, and JoJo who was found chained on a pallet over a filthy open sewer.
The site of the temporary centre is extremely small and all the adults are in need of more space to exercise and develop the strength and skills they will need if they are one day to survive in the wild.
It is not easy or cheap to build an enclosure strong and secure enough to keep adult orangutans safe: they are extremely strong, intelligent – and great escapologists. International Animal Rescue believes a better option is to buy small islands where Mely and her friends can be given their first taste of freedom.
Orangutans are not fond of water so it is the perfect natural barrier to contain them. Once on the island, the released animals will be closely monitored and fed regularly while they get accustomed to their new natural environment.
Alan Knight OBE, IAR Chief Executive, recently visited the temporary rescue centre and the island where it is hoped that Mely can be released. He said: “The adult orangutans in our centre are in urgent need of more space and we’re working as hard as we can to make this possible. I’ve seen the island, which we’re calling “Mely’s Island” and I’m really thrilled at the prospect of seeing her and her friends getting their first taste of freedom.”
The rescued baby orangutans have already all been relocated into International Animal Rescue’s new Orangutan Rescue Centre and released into their new forest enclosure where they’re having the time of their lives. They spend each day in the forest, climbing and playing and developing the strength and the
skills they will need when they are released. Even though some of them are only months old, they are agile climbers and far more at home in the trees than on the ground.
Alan Knight added: “Mely now has the care and the company she lacked during all those years in chains, but she doesn’t have her freedom. The team at the facility works hard to keep her and the other orangutans occupied and amused. But Mely came from the wild and that is where she belongs, in the forest among others of her own kind.
“Mely has probably never even climbed a tree, so the next phase in her life is going to be an extremely exciting one! We’re really hoping that our supporters – and the public in general – will be moved by Mely’s story and be as eager as we are to set her free.”
Watch this short film showing Mely from pre-rescue to her current situation.