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Thread: Welcome to the world's only orang-utan hospital

  1. #1
    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    Dec 2006

    Default Welcome to the world's only orang-utan hospital

    Hooked up to a drip, wearing just a nappy and a forlorn expression, the tiny infant stares out through the bars of his cot at the frenzy of activity around him.
    A few feet away, a nurse makes up a bottle of formula while another prepares a bath. On a nearby table lies a thermometer, a blood-pressure gauge and bottles of medication.
    The scene is typical of any infant care unit and the staff are dedicated to saving their tiny patients. The only difference is that these 'babies' are not human but infant orang-utans.

    Here's looking at you, kid: Little June-Junior is recovering well in the unit

    Situated in the heart of the Malaysian jungle, the Infant Care Unit at Bukit Merah Lake Town Resort - dubbed Orang-Utan Island - is a very special hospital.
    All of its patients are from the endangered Borneo species of orang-utans, the Pongo Pygmaeus. Without the facility, built in 2004, the species would probably be extinct.

    April and June-Junior cause mischief in the Infant Care Unit at the Bukit Merah island wildlife reserve

    Many of the 23 baby orangutans treated here were rejected or abused by their mothers. Without milk, they develop severe malnutrition.
    In hospital, they are cared for just like human babies. Every two hours the patients are bottle fed, and their vital signs are monitored - including blood pressure, blood oxygen content and pulse.
    Three-month-old June-Junior is hooked up to monitors and IV drips

    Bed is a cosy cot, with blankets and pillows, while incubators are reserved for those who have particularly low body temperatures.
    Each morning, the baby orangutans are sponged with antiseptic body wash and weighed. They are also monitored by vets, who make sure they have the required 15 to 22 hours of sleep a day.
    Two of the current patients are typical of those cared for since the unit opened five years ago.

    Abandoned: Eleven-month-old April was rejected by her mother

    Hitting the bottle: Baby June-Junior feeds from her bottle just like a human

    Ten-month-old April was rejected by her mother, while three-month-old June-Junior weighed just 2lb 6oz when she was born and had severe respiratory problems.
    But there is also time for play. This mischievous pair like nothing more than trying to pull off their heart monitor cables.

    Dressed in a nappy, 10-month-old April chews her cot and makes faces at June-Junior

    When they are a year old they will be moved to the infant development unit, where the animals are taught how to survive in the wild.
    The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) says there are only 3,000 Borneo orang-utan left in the world. But thanks to the tender care administered to babies such as June-Junior and April, this decline could be halted.
    A dedicated team of seven nurses care for the creatures, headed by one of Malaysia's most experienced vets.

    The orang-utans get all the comforts of a hospital, including nappy changes, left, and even cuddles, right

    Born in an eco-tourism park on the Malaysian mainland, June-Junior and April are the latest of twelve orang-utans to have passed through the doors of the 70,000 facility since it opened in March 2004.
    'We have a total of 23 orang-utans here at the Bukit Merah resort,' said Dr D. Sabapathy.
    'We work with the state government of Sarawak on the island of Borneo, who send us ill or abandoned orang-utans that we care for here.
    'The ultimate plan in the next year is to enact the return of our 23 apes to the wilds of Borneo, into a secret location.

    Playmates: April and June-Junior like to have fun together in their cots

    'It is a matter of the survival of the species.'
    The low birth rate of orang-utans and encroachment on their natural habitat has seen the species' population dwindle.
    Recognised as an endangered species, the Borneo orangutan is estimated to number between 45,000 and 70,000 in the wild.
    'April was rejected by her mother, who was very aggressive towards her,' said Dr Sabapathy.

    Nap time: One of the centre's cute residents gets some shut-eye

    'She will stay inside the ICU until she is almost one-year-old and then she will be moved to our Infant Development Unit. There she will be taught how to survive in the wild and gradually her human contact will be cut to a bare minimum.
    'June-Junior was a more serious case as she was born weighing just 1.1kg and had developed respiratory problems.
    'We frequently have to put her into the incubator because her temperature falls below the norm of 36.5 degrees.'

    Infant orang-utans like June-Junior are examined regularly. They will later be prepared for release into the wild

    Priding themselves on their commitment to conservation as well as informing the public of the plight of the orang-utan, the Bukit Merah park is one of Malaysia's largest eco-tourism resorts.
    'Without the specialist care that we offer in our ICU I would not be so confident of June-Junior's and April's survival,' explained Dr Sabapathy.
    'It costs almost 30,000 a year to keep the ICU staffed, up-to-date and open, but we cover these costs through the park's admission.'

    Move over, ER! Welcome to the world's only orang-utan hospital | Mail Online

  2. #2
    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Feb 2007


    They are the cutest things! 22 hours of sleep sounds great! Sweet babes.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

  3. #3
    fgg is offline
    Elite Member fgg's Avatar
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    Apr 2008


    they are beyond adorable!

    this one's hair reminds me of alison sweeney's new baby.

  4. #4
    Elite Member Sarzy's Avatar
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    Dec 2007


    Omg. I could quite happily live there! So adorable!

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