Uckfield animal charity building centre for orangutans in Borneo

AN UCKFIELD animal charity was honoured with an official reception at the Indonesian Embassy on Wednesday. International Animal Rescue (IAR) was celebrated at the event attended by guests and patrons including comedian and musicial Bill Bailey and TV vet Dr Scott Miller. It was held on behalf of the work done to protect and conserve the Bornean orangutan.

IAR has almost finished building a rehabilitation centre in West Kalmintan, Indonesian Borneo. The team in Indonesia is currently using a temporary centre to house more than 50 orangutans that have been rescued with help from the Forestry Department 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.

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.

IAR chief executive Alan Knight OBE 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 sold into the pet trade 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 could not fend for themselves.”

Infant and baby orangutans will be moved to the new centre this autumn but it will be some time before the adults will benefit. The charity is working to raise funds to pay for adult enclosures. In the meantime, adults at the temporary centre remain in cages but are kept occupied and amused.