An Uckfield charity that rescues orangutans in Borneo has released a video showing the moment two of their youngest babies met for the first time.
Gito and Asoka are both in the care of a team from International Animal Rescue (IAR), whose head office is based in the Sussex town.
Like the scores of other orangutans in the rescue centre in Ketapang, West Borneo, the two were taken from their mothers in the wild and kept in captivity as people’s pets. Their mothers are likely to have been killed trying to protect them.
In the video, the two babies are completely fascinated by this first encounter, staring and reaching out to touch and nibble each other.
For Gito, this is the first time he has been close to another orangutan since losing his mother, so this is a real milestone in his rehabilitation.
The sight of Gito looking so inquisitive and alert is all the more heart-warming because only a few months ago, IAR’s rescue team found him lying lifeless and close to death in a urine-soaked cardboard box.
The medical team worked round the clock to save him and restore him to health. Now he looks healthy and full of life – and completely enamoured with his new friend.
Gito and Asoka are now attending pre-school together, playing with the other small babies and building up their strength before moving on to baby school, where they will experience the rough and tumble of the more boisterous, bigger and older infants.
Alan Knight OBE, CEO of International Animal Rescue, said: “These two babies have a long road ahead of them. They will spend several years in our rehabilitation centre building up their strength and learning the skills they will need to survive in the wild before they can even be considered for reintroduction into the forest.
“Their progress so far is really encouraging and we are all thrilled to see how well they are doing. They are both getting stronger and more confident by the day, under the watchful eye of the team at our centre.
“It is thanks to our vets and babysitters that Gito, Asoka and all the other babies are making such good progress and of course none of this would be possible without the support from the public which makes our work possible.
“I’m sure it gives people great satisfaction to see what a difference their support is making to animals like Gito and Asoka who now have a second chance in life.”
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