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Published: August 14th 2007
Arrived in KL, Malaysia on Sunday on a flight from HCMC. Stayed in the capital one night and met the volunteers and coordinates of the orangutan program. First two weeks I'll be at the zoo in Taiping (4hrs north of KL) with three others. Andy, Cayleigh and Amy (all from UK) and our two coordinators, Nas and Aida.
Started work on Tuesday - it's a fantastic zoo with a huge variety of animals. There's 4 orangutans here: Hassan, a 27 year old male who's very lazy and lethargic, Heaven, Hassan's woman, who's very fat, Puden, another female who doesn't get on well with Heaven (or anyone else), and last (but definitely not least) Wasabi, a 4 year old female who might be the most adorable creature on Earth.
First up every morning is husbandry - cleaning the cages and enclosures of the orangutans and some of the other primates. Then it's feeding time for the orangs, lemur, otters, gibbons etc. Much of the time after lunch is for enrichment of Wasabi and the other orangs - we get one hour every day to play with Wasabi and have to come up with ways to encourage them to display their
natural behaviours , e.g making them search for food.
We've also had a lot of hands on experience with the other animals - holding the new lion cubs and playing (i.e. being charged by) with the two month old elephant. Also fed the lions (lots of raw chicken), the tigers take them live.
Had a day off today so we went to Orangutan Island, a nature park near Taiping where 23 orangs live. Was great to see them in their natural environment (humans are caged on the island as they view them) and the infant orangs they have there were seriously cute.
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