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Karta, Kluet and Puspa Update!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011 4:55pm
karta 300w.jpg

Many of you have heard how Puspa is doing but I know a few people are also wondering how Kluet and Karta are doing with Puspa’s arrival and the mammoth change that this brings…

The afternoon Puspa had arrived, Adelaide received a fair amount of rain. So that Kluet and Karta would not get soaking wet, they had been given access to certain bedroom areas so that they could stay dry during Puspa’s unloading. That was the plan anyway - once Kluet and Karta took one look at the crate that Puspa was arriving in, they quickly went outside and went to the furthest point they could on exhibit. To them a transport crate is something you see when you are going somewhere, I am sure they were not expecting an orangutan to be arriving!!

It did not take long after Puspa had been unloaded before curiosity to get the better of them and Kluet and Karta made their way into the building to check out the new resident. I was very surprised that within a few minutes all 3 orangutans were eating and relaxed, just as if they had known each other for years!

In the weeks leading up to Puspa’s arrival we tried to prepare Kluet and Karta to having to share the orangutan bedroom areas by shutting them out of the rooms that we needed for Puspa when she first arrived and during her quarantine. This process of Kluet and Karta not being able to move about the building as they were used to, threw out their routine just as we expected it too. They were suspicious as to why we were doing this and as a result did not want to be shut in the building at night as they normally would be. We expected this and set up a very intense training program taking Kluet and Karta right back to basics.

We have been working on desensitizing the orangutans to us shutting the slide to the exhibit and giving them some of the control in this. Simply put, they choose if they are comfortable enough to let us close the door and they know that if they walk to the slide and touch it, we will reopen it. The incentive is that if they don’t go to the slide (or if in the beginning stages if they do but come back to us and let us start to close it again) they get an extra tasty treat.

We are using the tried and true techniques of positive reinforcement and we are seeing very calm and relaxed orangutans. We don’t want to rush the process as we see this time as hugely important as this can put some nice patterns in place that we will be able to use this technique should another situation arise that the orangutans are uncertain of.

Puspa has been doing wonderfully throughout this whole process and is becoming more settled with each day. We have moved the buildings' resident siamangs to give Puspa some peace and quiet as siamang vocalization is very loud, plus it will also give us more room to do better introductions with the orangutans.

Now that the siamangs have moved to their new exhibit, we will give Puspa around a week to enjoy the quieter building and then we will let her out onto the exhibit.The reason we want to do this is so that if at first Puspa feels a bit nervous or overwhelmed out on the exhibit, then she will see the building as a safe place that she can come back to if she needs.


Jodie
Orangutan Keeper, Adelaide Zoo

Comments

I can't wait to see the new girl on the block. She sounds lovely!
Posted By: Anna Gee on Thursday, February 24, 2011 8:38pm
It is just so exciting for the Adelaide Zoo staff and volunteers! All the best Karta, Kluet and Puspa (& Jodie).
Posted By: Mary Crichton on Thursday, March 17, 2011 9:18pm
I'm so pleased to see Adelaide get more ornagutans. I was lucky enough to do "breakfast with the Orangutans" in Singapore Zoo recently and they are wonderful animals.
Posted By: Malinda Melbourne on Thursday, March 24, 2011 9:58am

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