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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

New orangutan Monte arrives in Ketapang

Monte was chained and kept in a tiny cage (Photo: Reuters)The most recent arrival at International Animal Rescue's centre in Ketapang, West Kalimantan is a male called Monte of about 13 years old. He had been kept in a tiny cage and chained up for at least the past three, possibly five years. He had been kept illegally as a pet by his owners since he was a baby.

In a cage the size of a kitchen cabinet he could neither stand up nor stretch his arms. He was chained up because as he grew and became stronger he was able to break the cage open and escape from his cruel confinement.

The team travelled from Pontianak with a team from the BKSDA (the Agency of Natural Resources Conservation). They arrived at the orangutan owner's house in Monterado at 2pm and by 3pm they had already left with Monte and set off back to Pontianak. They arrived back in Pontianak at 8pm, then left the following morning at 8.30am on a Kalstar flight to Ketapang.

An initial veterinary assessment found Monte to be malnourished and weak. Karmele Llano Sanchez, IAR's Veterinary Director in Indonesia, said: "I wonder how he has even survived in such dreadful conditions for so long. He's the saddest orangutan I have ever seen. When today he arrived in the cage, his legs were weak and trembling as he tried to walk and climb just a few metres off the ground. It is going to take some time before Monte can carry his own weight without a struggle.

Karmele and Monte moments from his rescue (Photo: Reuters)"Keeping orangutans as pets is illegal and yet still many of them are taken from the wild. We will continue to work closely with other NGOs and with the authorities of Indonesia to improve law enforcement programmes. Otherwise we will see orangutans vanishing forever from the rainforests of Borneo."

On a more positive note, Monte undoubtedly had the biggest feast of his life the morning he arrived. He wanted to try every food he was offered, from bananas to corn on the cob. He was also very interested in the bed of leaves in his enclosure, and was eager to build a nest to rest in. It was very encouraging to see him responding so well so soon after his long lonely years of imprisonment.