VIDEO: Baby orangutan traumatised by years in captivity climbs tree for first time

A baby orangutan that was left traumatised after being kept for two years as a pet is already on the road to recovery, according to the Uckfield charity that is caring for her.

International Animal Rescue (IAR) has released new photos and video of little Joss climbing and feeding in a tree and showing no signs of the abnormal behaviour she displayed before she was rescued.

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Although she is still in quarantine at IAR’s Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Ketapang, West Borneo, for the past few days she has been taken out for short periods to learn to climb.

She is showing a real aptitude for it but, according to IAR’s vets, she is only willing to climb if no one is looking at her. Joss is still shy and nervous whenever she sees anyone new. However, she has developed a hearty appetite which is a very good sign and is helping her grow healthy and strong.

Alan Knight, IAR CEO, said: “Joss still reverts to her abnormal stereotypical behaviour at times of stress but it is much less than when she arrived at our centre. In only six or seven weeks she has learnt to trust the vets and build up enough confidence to venture into the outside world and climb in a tree for the first time in her life.

“It is so uplifting to see the improvement in this little baby after she has suffered so much trauma and deprivation in her short life. She is responding extremely well to the care she’s receiving and I’m sure it won’t be long before she’s ready for the next stage in her rehabilitation - socialisation with another baby orangutan.”

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Once Joss’ period in quarantine is completed she will be introduced to other babies at the centre and sleep with them in a night cage. During the day she will be taken out to pre-school with those babies that are at a similar stage of development and will be encouraged to climb and play in the forest by the babysitters.

She will be kept under close observation to monitor her progress and assess when, at some point in the future, she is ready to move into the rough and tumble of baby school where the infants are much more boisterous.

After baby school comes a period of several years in forest school before Joss will be assessed for her suitability for reintroduction into the wild and spend a period of time on a pre-release island. She will remain with others on the island day and night in final preparation for her return to the wild.

Knight adds: “Our ultimate goal is to return these beautiful primates to their rightful place in the wild, in a protected area where they will be free from harm. The forest fires in Indonesia last year resulted in an increase in the number of baby orangutans ending up in captivity and the team at our centre in Ketapang is preparing to cope with more fires and more casualties in the year ahead.”

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VIDEO: Heartbreaking footage shows baby orangutan traumatised by years in captivity.

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