UK Vet at Sepilok

We have been searching for months for a junior Malaysian vet to assist Dr Cecilia at Sepilok and cover her absences (when she has to carry out field visits to Tabin or is called to attend injured elephants etc) which leave the orphans in Sepilok’s nursery without veterinary care.

Despite all our efforts no Malaysian vet could be found so we applied to the Sabah Wildlife Department for permission to place a UK vet at Sepilok for a 3 month secondment, which they agreed we could do.

Dr Nigel took up his post at the end of October and has sent us the following report.

Our primary aim was to try and provide complete care for the orangutans 24/7 and in this time we have been able to achieve this. With a resident vet already in place this has also given time for me to make an assessment of the routines and to suggest and in some cases implement a few changes which we hope will be beneficial.
During the last three months we have instituted better feeding regimes for the babies, including instigating more stringent sterilization of equipment and providing training for the volunteer groups that work in the clinic.
With constantly changing personnel (volunteers and staff changes) there was a need for a standardized, strict hygiene and disinfection routine within the clinic. During the three months we have completely re-appraised the methods and chemicals used and instigated an effective but easy to follow routine. This should help in reducing infection levels and in addition we have started to provide refresher training for the staff.
The above is in addition to the daily veterinary care and treatments which we have provided. In the last 3 months I am pleased to say that major injuries have been very few. Sogo recently fell some twenty feet from a tree after a confrontation with a dominant female but only suffered shock and had no bony injuries.
Ankong, a young male, was very badly bitten by a troop of macaques. When he was brought in to the clinic he had some 20-30 deep infected bite wounds which were weeping and extremely swollen. He was running a high temperature and in a great deal of discomfort. With some intensive care and treatment he has made a full recovery and now just looks a little more battle scarred which appears to be giving him increased credibility amongst the juvenile males!
Oscar, also a young male, had a deep laceration to his right knee which had penetrated the muscle. After delicate stitching and a high does of antibiotics he is using the leg and hopefully will have no further side effects.


We have been delighted with what Dr Nigel has been able to achieve in such a short time and wish to thank him for his dedication and tenacity and hope that in the not too distant future he will be able to return to Sepilok for another 3 months.