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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

Reception at the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia signals support for IAR's orangutan rehabilitation project

IAR's patron comedian Bill Bailey Credit: Roger AllenA reception held at the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia on 21 June marked the Indonesian government’s support for International Animal Rescue’s efforts to protect and conserve the Bornean orangutan. The event was held to launch our new orangutan rehabilitation centre which is already under construction in West Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. IAR patrons comedian and musician Bill Bailey and TV vet Dr Scott Miller were among the guests.

IAR’s team in Indonesia is currently using a temporary centre to house more than 50 orangutans that have been rescued with support and assistance from the Forestry Division in West Kalimantan (BKSDA). In 2009 IAR signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the BKSDA to agree plans for the rescue, rehabilitation and release of orangutans whose forest homes have been destroyed to make way for palm oil and rubber plantations. The agreement allows for the purchase of land and the creation of facilities where the rescued animals can be rehabilitated before being released back into protected areas of forest.

International Animal Rescue's CEO Alan Knight OBE Credit: Roger AllenThe spacious enclosures and state of the art facilities at the new centre will enable rescued orangutans to develop the physical strength and the skills they will need when they are reintroduced into the wild.Alan Knight OBE, Chief Executive of International Animal Rescue, said: “In 2007 the Indonesian government launched its Strategy and Action Plan for National Conservation of Orangutans, which has as one of its primary goals to ‘accomplish the rehabilitation and reintroduction of captive orangutans into their wild habitats. ‘

“Our new centre can play a vital role in achieving this aim by taking in orangutans that have been caught and kept in captivity and preparing them for life back in the wild. The plan is to reintroduce as many animals as possible but the centre will also be equipped to provide lifelong care for orangutans that can’t fend for themselves.”

TV vet Scott Miller, his wife Zoe and the Ambassador Credit: Roger AllenPhase 1 of the project is already nearing completion: it comprises a veterinary clinic, quarantine building, baby school and baby quarantine building, as well as staff accommodation and food store. The main access road into the centre has also been completed and electricity power lines erected.

The infant and baby orangutans will be moved to the new centre in the autumn but it will be some time before the adults will benefit from the new facilities. The charity still needs to raise significant funds to cover the cost of the adult enclosures and accommodation. In the meantime, adult orangutans at the temporary centre must remain in cages but are given regular environmental enrichment to keep them occupied and amused. 

Alan Knight concludes: “I would like to thank His Excellency Mr T M Hamzah Thayeb, Ambassador of Indonesia, for hosting this reception for our patrons, trustees and supporters. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening, celebrating the progress of the orangutan project so far and looking forward to the completion of the new facility and a brighter future for the orangutans.”