These orangutans love to be wheeled around in a barrow. Each morning they are taken from their sleeping quarters to ‘school’ where they learn survival skills for the wild But, much like human toddlers, they don’t like walking that far and instead insist on being pushed in a wheelbarrow.
Lis Key, a spokesman for International Animal Rescue, which runs the centre, said, “Human toddlers often protest at walking any great distance – and orangutans are no different.
‘So wheelbarrows are used to speed up the process, enabling the vets and carers of the orang-utans to ferry them from their night cages out into the forest in a fraction of the time it would take to carry them or walk with them.
‘Inevitably this does involve the occasional thrills and spills. Some individuals sit quietly and enjoy the ride, others opt to bail out early, particularly on the return journey if they’re not too keen on going home to bed.
‘But most seem to enjoy the ride, though some cling tightly to each other with a somewhat anxious expression.’
Located in Ketapang, West Kalimantan, in the Indonesian part of Borneo, the centre aims to equip the animals with the necessary skills to one day be released back into the jungle.
Ms Key continued, “These orang-utans are brought into the IAR centre for veterinary treatment and rehabilitation. It can take years for these animals to develop the skills and the strength they need to survive in the forest.
‘In the meantime they progress form baby school, where babies and very young infants learn to climb and play with other young orang-utans, on to forest school.
‘Here older infants are given more freedom to behave as they would in the wild, foraging for food, building nests and even sleeping out in the forest overnight if they so choose.”