Amil is travelling to Sumatra soon!

Do you remember Amil, the orangutan our Bornean Orangutan Rescue Alliance (BORA) rescued from an island zoo earlier this year? Well, it turns out that Amil is not a Bornean orangutan at all as the zoo records indicated. We had been planning on moving him to our BORA rescue centre in East Kalimantan; however, we needed to wait for further health checks including blood work and DNA testing.

The DNA test results have confirmed what we suspected - Amil is a Sumatran orangutan so Sumatra is where he should return. This photo above highlights the features of an adolescent male Sumatran orangutan including a long face and beard.

Since March this year, Amil’s appetite, health and behaviour have all improved. Although he’s still at the Wildlife Rescue Centre in Java and not in a more forested area, this is still better than the decrepit zoo we rescued him from. His life used to be a dark room with a dirt floor, no sun, and no place to hang and swing like a normal orangutan. The good news is that Amil is putting on weight and the fine hairs on his body are becoming fuller. And now, he can swing in the open air and feel the sun on his face.

Amil’s favourite foods are bananas, passionfruit and honey. On a recent trip to check on Amil, our team picked up fruits including pineapples, coconuts, watermelons, bananas, papayas and watermelons, and the food substance most orangutans love most: honey.

They then developed a range of enrichment activities for Amil to improve his life and mental health and to help him avoid boredom. The enrichment also helps him develop physical and motor skills, which are especially important for an orangutan like Amil, who has spent his whole life in a cage with limited care and no enrichment.

One enrichment the team provides is to cut a banana stem, make a hole, and fill it with various fruits that have been cut into cubes. This forces Amil to dig into the stem and find ways to get the fruit out. They also provide leaves with honey to brighten his day. We hope the future continues to be brighter still for this lovable orangutan.

Above: Amil with one of his favourite foods - coconut - which he has to rip open in order to get to the juice and fruit inside.

Below: Amil in the rescue centre, the team creating enrichment parcels of food inside banana leaves, and Amil with banana leaves and shredded banana stems after he's demolished one of the enrichments.

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