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Arga at work on one of his patients, Nyaru Menteng, January 2020

Arga Kusuma one of OVAID's two scholarship candidates in 2019 has sent us an update on his work at the BOSF Nyaru Menteng orangutan rescue and rehabilitation centre in Central Kalimantan.


Whilst he was in the UK last year we were able to help facilitate Arga's request to improve his dentistry skills through the generosity of wildlife expert dentist Gerhard Putter of Mulberry Vets in Suffolk. Gerhard is a diplomate of the European Veterinary Dental College and has extensive experience of dental conditions in wildlife and generously mentored Arga in October last year. Many orangutan in the rescue centres in Indonesia have suffered poor nutrition as pets resulting in poor dental hygiene or dental injuries and without expert skills these can be very challenging and difficult to treat.

During his time with Gerhard, Arga was able to increase his skill set and gain the confidence to tackle more challenging cases and he has just sent Gerhard and ourselves this update:


"I just want to say Thank you again, because I got really usefull experience while learning from you. I bring useful tecnique and confidence come over here in our center. First week after I arrive in our center, we sedated wild orangutan for air bullet surgery and we were going to translocate him, no one realized before that he had complicated fracture canine and pulp chamber was exposed. I said to team that we need to do extraction before releasing him or his condition may deteriorate in the future because of his teeth. So we did extraction. I knew it will be very difficult because we don't have micromotor. I didn't say it was easy but I managed to pull it out after 30 minutes. And it was enormous. 3 days after extraction, orangutan seems quite difficult to eat rough food (like sweet potato, bark) but after that he can eat all kind of food that we offered. And when we released him (3 weeks after) he was totally fine." 


We are absolutely delighted to receive this positive feedback from our candidates and this report demonstrates that we can achieve great strides in improving orangutan welfare by helping to give the dedicated local veterinary teams the equipment and skills that they need. This is exactly what we envisaged when OVAID was conceived.

Arga tells us that he has also operated on other orangutan and in his spare time has even assisted the local animal population!

Community outreach is an important part of the Indonesian orangutan centres' programmes. By involving and supporting local communities the centres are able to educate and spread awareness of the plight of the orangutan and the necessity to preserve its habitat. By developing good relations with the community, human orangutan conflict often decreases.

Arga also tells us that in his spare time he was able to use his newfound skills to give dental treatment to a local lady's cat which had been suffering from dental problems for several months and despite antibiotic therapy had not improved. To the delight of the owner, after a thorough dental examination and the extraction of five teeth the cat has made a full recovery. In fact, the lady is so pleased that she has offered to fund some extra dental equipment for super dentist Arga! 


Arga and Lia Kristina a vet team colleague from the centre with grateful owner and patient after the successful operation.

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