Orangutan Haven Residents: Dek Nong

Dek Nong

Dek Nong is a Sumatran orangutan who entered quarantine in September 2007. She was released to the forest in Jambi shortly after February 2008 and was making good progress until the end of 2008, when she was discovered to be suffering a form of creeping paralysis, resulting in the loss of full use of her arms and legs.

As a result she returned to the SOCP quarantine center in February 2009 for examination and treatment. She also displays a slight deformity in her left wrist (it is bent acutely and swollen). Physical examinations suggest an arthritic condition, but biopsies, further tests, and examination by local and visiting veterinarians, as well as a Swiss "human" trauma surgeon, have so far failed to diagnose Dek Nong's condition satisfactorily.

Fortunately, there has been some success with her treatment. The paralysis has for some time been relieved and to date has not come back, meaning she has almost full use of both her arms and legs.

Unfortunately Dek Nong cannot be released back into the wild due to her condition, and desperately requires a new home outside of her quarantine cage.

Update from Dek Nong's Keepers - July 2013

Dek Nong is developing into a beautiful female orangutan. She has a very sweet personality and is very patient with the keepers. The keepers love spending time with Dek Nong, as she will often be very gentle when it comes to feed time. Her favorite food is melon and will prioritize this when she gets fed. At the quarantine center, all orangutans get fed 6 times per day. This is standard as most wild orangutans are frequently feeding and resting.

Dek Nong unfortunately does not move much. Her creeping paralysis inhibits her from being able to move around a lot. The staff takes special care and attention to ensure her home is easy for her to move around in and is still enriching. We also take special care to ensure she has a comfortable nest to sleep in each night. The leaf material is always prioritized for Dek Nong.

Dek Nong's problem solving skills are quite adept. She is a very smart female, who loves to engage in new enrichment devices. It does not take her long to work out how to access food from toys. The keepers are always coming up with new and novel ideas to keep her mentally enriched.

Keeper Activities:

As a part of an April 2013 campaign to raise much needed funds for Quarantine and improve husbandry conditions we set about developing an internal staff competition.

The goal was to upgrade the current Quarantine Centre and implement a team program.

1. Improve the orangutan welfare and husbandry
2. Improve the Quarantine practices
3. Clean up and organise the centre so staff can work more efficiently
4. Increase staff motivation – Reward those that are doing a good job.
5. Implement staff quarantine protocols for each area they work in
6. Staff to implement a management system in the areas they are delegated to work
7. Increase the communications with the Quarantine Centre – between technicians, veterinarians and managers

The competition was judged by Ian Singleton and Jessica McKelson. A number of good improvements were made to the Permanent Cage facilities where Dek Nong resides.
• New blue barrels and hammocks installed in Dek Nong cage.
• New paint and full scrub over her home!
• Additional, the entire Permanent cage facility had new paint, new tools and some new overall maintenance to tidy the space up!

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