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Rescued by the Mail, how Mely the orangutan found a friend


Two's company: Despite initial shyness, mely (top) has forged a strong bond with fellow orangutan orphan Nicky at Borneo's International Animal Rescue Centre

She hadn't felt the touch of another orangutan since the day her mother was cruelly snatched from her more than 15 years ago.

So when Mely — the orangutan rescued thanks to the generosity of Daily Mail readers after a lifetime in shackles — met fellow orphan Nicky there was plenty of catching up to do. They stared at each other with inquisitive brown eyes before reaching out for a hug.

Then they romped around their new living quarters at the International Animal Rescue Centre in Borneo, before Mely decided it was time for a contented doze in a hammock.

Mely (right) meets Nicky another orphaned orangutan for the first time since her mother was shot dead 15 years ago

Such innocent pleasures had previously been denied to both animals, forced from their rainforest homes as vast swathes were cut down to make way for palm trees and the lucrative palm oil industry — and by the mistaken belief that they make good pets.

Mely was snatched after a fisherman — who wanted her as a trophy — callously shot her mother and left her to rot. The young orangutan was then chained and padlocked to a ramshackle verandah at the man’s riverside home — and thrown unsuitable scraps of food such as raw noodles and chilli powder to survive.

Freedom: Mely's rescue last October

She became so weak that her arms and legs, which are naturally supposed to propel her though the rainforest canopy, could barely support her.

Finally, Mely was rescued last October after the Indonesian government — which had ruled that snatching orangutans is illegal — gave rescuers the go-ahead to save her.

After her plight featured in the Mail last year, more than £8,000 was raised to help International Animal Rescue re-home her. Mely was subsequently taken by boat, plane and truck to the sanctuary. She arrived malnourished, underweight and with a raw, badly rubbed neck after years of being chained up.

Now, after several months of a normal orangutan diet of fruit, such as mangoes, figs, lychees and the occasional egg, she has acclimatised to her new life — and even overcome her shyness to make a friend. Nicky, another female aged between six and seven, has been at the sanctuary for two years since being rescued from life as a pet.

Home comforts: Relaxing in a hammock after a good romp

Charity spokesman Lis Key said: ‘A family had bought her but, when she started to grow, they left her running loose around the family property. People don’t realise these animals do not make pets.’

After a delegate from the sanctuary recently visited Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre in Dorset, work is now underway back in Borneo to build a 60-acre enclosure for the animals to monkey around in and enjoy their newfound freedom.

Mely, right, pictured here with Nicky, was snatched after a fisherman ¿ who wanted her as a trophy ¿ callously shot her mother

The ultimate goal, however, is to release them back into protected areas of rainforest, ‘where they can live safely in their natural environment’ says Key.

‘The project is an ambitious one, but we are committed to doing whatever we can to protect and preserve these endangered primates.’

● INTERNATIONAL Animal Rescue, Lime House, Regency Close, Uckfield, East Sussex TN22 1DS, tel: 01825 767688;

source: dailymail