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Peanut, Aves’ adopted orangutan

In 2016, Polly Dulley, co-owner and optometrist at Aves, visited Borneo on a fund-raising trek with Epping Breast Cancer Unit. Polly was one of a group of 8 intrepid adventurers who spent 4 nights in the Borneo jungle before climbing Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in South East Asia, at 4180 metres. The group found the trek incredibly tough but were euphoric to reach the peak  and, of course, to raise many thousands of pounds for Epping Breast Cancer Charity.

As a reward for all the hard work of the trek, the group were lucky enough to visit the orangutan sanctuary in Sepilok. Whilst there, Polly decided that it would be a great idea for Aves to help with the amazing work being carried out at the sanctuary, and so she adopted Peanut, a baby orangutan looked after by the sanctuary.

Peanut was only 11 months old when he first came to Sepilok, and had a very challenging time as he caught malaria during his first few months there. Now 4 years old and weighing a healthy 18kg, Peanut is fit and well and learning to be independent.

Malaria is a serious condition, spread to animals and humans by mosquitos, making them sick, lose their appetites and feel very poorly indeed. Three years on, however, and Peanut is fully recovered and enjoying food again. He is eager to try many different foods and has become very good at finding leaves and fruit to snack on as he explores the jungle forest. Orangutans have “trichromatic” vision, which means they are able to see colours, just like humans. This adaptation makes it easier for orangutans like Peanut to see when fruits are ripe and ready to eat.

As well as learning to forage for himself, Peanut has also been learning the vital skill of nest building. In the wild, young orangutans stay with their mothers until they are about 8 years old, but as an orphan, Peanut must be taught his survival skills by the carers and his friends at the sanctuary. Peanut has worked really hard in the past few months and, with his skills progressing at this rate, he may soon graduate to the Outdoor Nursery, which is the final stage of rehabilitation.

We are so proud of Peanut and are delighted to play a part in his rehabilitation process.