Amount Raised to date:

Dek Nong


Dek Nong is a Sumatran orangutan who entered quarantine in September 2007, she was released to the forest in Jambi shortly after February 2008, and was making good progress until the end of 2008, when she was discovered to be suffering a form of creeping paralysis, resulting in the loss of full use of her arms and legs.

As a result she returned to the quarantine centre in February 2009 for examination and treatment. She also displays some sort of deformity in her left wrist (it is bent acutely and swollen). Physical examinations suggest an arthritic condition, but biopsies, further tests, and examination by local and visiting veterinarians, as well as a Swiss “human” trauma surgeon, have so far failed to diagnose Dek Nong’s condition satisfactorily.

Fortunately, there has been some success with her treatment. The paralysis has for some time been relieved and to date has not come back, meaning she has almost full use of both her arms and legs.

Unfortunately Dek Nong cannot be released back into the wild due to her condition, and desperately requires a new home outside of her quarantine cage.


July 2015 Update

Over the last 12 months, the staff at Quarantine have been aiming to work on training Dek Nong to shift into the anaesthetic cage. Staff would like to eventually lock her inside, so they can enter and setup her facility with lots of enriching items to keep her mentally and physically active. However, Dek Nong is way too smart and will not enter this small training cage for her keepers, proving difficult! She has learnt that if she ignores the staff, she will get her food anyway. Staff have become more focused on aiming to move Dek Nong around, which has started to open her hands up a little more than usual. She had a general health check, where tests were taken for her abnormal creeping arthritic condition. It showed she had not got worse, but her symptoms had improved slightly. Weighing almost 45kg, Dek Nong is in good shape physically and her small body sores have cleared up due to the medication she had been receiving over 8 months. These are all wonderful signs of her health improvement. 
Now the challenge is to meet her welfare needs! Staff have been working on developing key puzzle box ideas where she must aim to use a stick or tool to gain access to her favourite treats like honey, jam, fruit and coconuts! She will then spend a lot of time playing with these puzzle boxes.At night time, Dek Nong likes to build her nest high up on the platform and in a position where she can see the staff first thing in the morning. Her nest building is getting better, and staff now treat her to blankets and towels to give her a much cosy nest in her permanent environment. 

November 2014 Update

Dek Nong has had an interesting 8 months. She has commenced a special medication to help her with her creeping arthritic condition. Already she looks brighter, but she still has a long way to go to even start to use her left hand again and move around freely. Currently she is unable to do this, so her temporary home needs to be accessible and easy for her to move around.

That is what we have been working on! We have started to renovate her permanent cage at Quarantine, where it took 3 months to repair all the metal work and infrastructure. In October, we seen Dek Nong move back to her home which was newly re furbished with exciting enrichment and easy to move pathways.

Dek Nong has also commenced animal training program, to allow her to open her mouth, present her hands and shoulders for medical procedures in the future. It has been incredibly positive, where she has developed a wonderful relationship with her carers and has enriched her life by learning. Dek Nong especially loves to be clean and tidy after she finishes her painting session!

Dek Nong now gets leaf material 2 x per day, to help her build nests and also ease her comfort when resting She is also given lots of enriching items like bed sheets, sacks and other soft items to make her nest more pleasant to sleep in. 

Update May 2014: Latest photos of Dek Nong

Latest Video of Dek Nong – December 2013

Latest photos of Dek Nong – December 2013

Update from Dek Nong's Keepers - July 2013

Dek Nong is developing to become a beautiful female orangutan. She has a very sweet personality and is very patient with the keepers. The keepers love spending time with Dek Nong, as she will often be very gentle when it comes to feed time. Her favourite food is melon and will prioritise this when she gets fed. At the quarantine centre, all orangutans get fed 6 times per day. This is standard as most wild orangutans are frequently feeding and resting.

Dek Nong unfortunately does not move much. Her creeping paralysis inhibits her from being able to move around a lot. We take special care and attention to ensure her home is easy for her to move and is still enriching. We also take special care to ensure she has comfortable nest to sleep in each night. The leaf material is always prioritised for Dek Nong.

Dek Nong problem solving skills are quite adept. She is a very smart female, who loves to engage in new enrichment devices. It does not take her long to work out how to access food from toys. The keepers are always coming up with new and novel ideas to keep her mentally enriched.

Keeper Activities:

As a part of an April 2013 campaign to raise much needed funds for Quarantine and improve husbandry conditions we set about developing an internal staff competition.

The goal was to upgrade the current Quarantine Centre and implement a team program.

  1. Improve the orangutan welfare and husbandry
  2. Improve the Quarantine practices
  3. Clean up and organise the centre so staff can work more efficiently
  4. Increase staff motivation – Reward those that are doing a good job.
  5. Implement staff quarantine protocols for each area they work in
  6. Staff to implement a management system in the areas they are delegated to work
  7. Increase the communications with the Quarantine Centre – between technicians, veterinarians and managers

The competition was judged by Ian Singleton and Jessica McKelson. A number of good improvements were made to the Permanent Cage facilities where Dek Nong resides.

  • New blue barrels and hammocks installed in Dek Nong cage.
  • New paint and full scrub over her home!
  • Additional, the entire Permanent cage facility had new paint, new tools and some new overall maintenance to tidy the space up!