Yenny has spent the last three months with us at Chester Zoo and with some of our colleagues around the UK to develop her knowledge and skills. She shares her highlights with us and tells us more about what she learned in the UK.

“Before coming here I arranged my schedule with Dr Steve Unwin, Chester Zoo Veterinary Officer, so that it would reflect what I needed. For example, my veterinary centre in Indonesia has some bronchoscopy equipment but we don’t know how to use it so I asked Steve if he could arrange for me to get trained on that topic. He put me in touch with Romain Pizzi a specialist Veterinary Surgeon working for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland in Edinburgh and I had the opportunity to go do some endoscopy and bronchoscopy training with him!

Yenny training
Yenny developing her skills

“I talked to Steve about the things that were really needed in my centre because I really wanted to learn skills that could help me develop it further. That’s why I went to Cardiff and trained to conduct heart scans. At the centre we have five big orangutans which we cannot release for various reasons and that means that they’ll stay at the centre so we need to be able to monitor their hearts. Normally big orangutans would be going in the forest very far away but as we keep them at the centre they don’t have access to as much forest as they would do normally, so they are more at risk of getting various heart diseases which is why I need to be able to do a good scanning of their hearts.

Yenny carrying out a heart scan
Yenny carrying out a heart scan

“During my time here I also had the chance to go to four conferences. The first one was the Veterinary Ethics Conference at Edinburgh University which focussed around the topic of animal well-being in practice. Then I gave a Members Talk at Chester Zoo with Ian Singleton, Director of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), and Helen Buckland, Director of the Sumatran Orangutan Society. We talked about the orangutans in Sumatra especially and I talked about the relationship between SOCP and the Chester Zoo led Orangutan Veterinary Advisory Group (OVAG).

“Then I went to the British Veterinary Zoological Society Conference at ZSL London Zoo where I presented a poster on the post-release health assessment for orangutans that I conduct in Jantho. I also attended Chester Zoo’s Trade Off Annual Conservation Symposium – that was interesting because it was focused around the topic of illegal wildlife trade and we have a lot of it happening in Indonesia!

“At Chester Zoo I also had the opportunity to go on section with the Primate Team. I learned a lot about the husbandry and not just for the orangutans but about for other primates as well.

Yenny presenting poster
Yenny presenting a poster

“Looking at the diet for the animals is very important so the team showed me the diet of different primates and they all had a different menu. This was very useful for me because when I go back to my centre our orangutans will be going back to the forest so we should try to adapt their diet to prepare them.

“Overall I really enjoyed traveling around the UK and loved the cultural exchange I had the chance to experience. I loved the British food but I was faced with one dilemma though: to decide if I should first put jam or cream on my scones!”