Update on IAR's work in Indonesia
As well as macaques and slow lorises, our team in Indonesia has ended the suffering of a number of endangered Javan gibbons living in misery in a centre known as Cikananga. After months of negotiation, IAR finally got the go-ahead to move seven Javan silvery gibbons to a specialist rehabilitation facility at the Javan Gibbon Centre. Some of these poor creatures had languished in the Cikananga isolation building literally for years because they were Hepatitis B-positive. This isn’t as bad as it sounds: Hepatitis B is a very common disease among gibbons that doesn’t make them ill and probably isn’t even transmissible to human beings.
Our thanks go to the International Primate Protection League (IPPL) who provided the funding for the relocation, particularly of Nakula, a gibbon who has been left deformed and undeveloped after suffering from rickets.
Our team has now relocated 50 macaques and 30 gibbons out of the misery of Cikananga to much healthier and happier conditions. The baby among their charges was Saar (‘Lost’), a Javan silvery gibbon of only a few months old. This little orphan was entrusted to the care of International Animal Rescue until he was old enough to live among other gibbons at the Javan Gibbon Centre. Saar received round the clock care from Karmele and her team. Everyone who was involved in looking after him had to be tested for Hepatitis A and B and all the other infectious diseases transmissible from humans to apes. If he is ever going to return to the wild, it is vital that he is free of any such diseases. Saar has now grown strong and fit enough to join the other gibbons at the gibbon centre.
As a standard protocol, all new macaque keepers in Ciapus also have to be tested for diseases and this is a costly but essential expense. Money has also been spent on the construction of new aluminium transport cages for the macaques. The old wooden backpack crates were heavy and cumbersome, making it arduous to transport the macaques to release sites over hilly terrain in the forest, so this is money well-spent.
Five local schools have already visited our new centre and observed and learnt about the primates in our care. Education is a vital aspect of our work in Indonesia: by teaching local people about Indonesian wildlife, we can convey to them the many reasons why they should respect and protect it.
True to the spirit of IAR founder John Hicks, we have a number of rescued stray dogs and cats living at Ciapus, all of which have of course been sterilised and vaccinated. We have now invested money in a new fence to keep the dogs safe - and to keep them out of trouble!
Finally, for the very latest up-to-the minute news from Ciapus, visit the blog that has been set up by volunteers Ethan Reitz and Kim Grutzmacher. Our thanks to them, not only for giving up their time to work at the centre, but for enabling the outside world to share the ups and the downs in the lives of the team and the animals.