John the orangutan joins our family in Ketapang
The latest arrival at International Animal Rescue's emergency rescue centre in Ketapang is an orangutan named John who was brought in from Pontianak. Ironically, in spite of the law against keeping an orangutan in captivity, a policeman had kept him at his home for several months. He claimed to have got the orangutan from some people on a boat who were planning to take him - and presumably sell him - to a zoo.
The policeman eventually reported John's existence to the forestry department some weeks ago and he was finally rescued from the policeman's house less then a week ago. He spent one night in the care of the forestry officer before being flown to Ketapang the following day.
John is a young male of three or four years old with long body hair. He had been living in a tiny cage and fed on an entirely unsuitable diet of rice, noodles and sweet tea. When he was brought in he had a chain around his neck which the vets have now removed.
His new carers at the IAR rescue centre in Ketapang report that he has a habit of spitting at unfamiliar people but, apart from this, he is settling in well! He is fairly active and has taken happily to eating his new fruit-based diet. He has made friends with Jingo and stays close to him for reassurance.
Unlike some of the other rescued orangutans at the centre, John has shown no ability to build a nest – a daily ritual among wild orangutans who build a nest in the trees to sleep in at night. When he is given leaves and branches during the day, John simply plays with them, having missed the opportunity to learn this vital behaviour from his mother. Thankfully, now that John is at the centre, he will have the chance to copy the other orangutans and develop the skills he will need if he is one day to fend for himself in the wild.