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Chained orangutan enjoys new freedom after rescue

Amy the Orangutan when she was rescued earlier this year from a remote West Borneo village
Image: Amy the orangutan, pictured when she was rescued from a remote West Borneo village

An orangutan saved from captivity by a UK charity has taken a step closer to freedom after being released into a forest enclosure.

The seven-year-old ape named Amy was found chained up in a small wooden crate in a West Borneo village, where she was kept as a pet.

She was unable to straighten her legs and her spine was bent, International Animal Rescue (IAR) said.

Amy the Orangutan after she was rescued from a remote West Borneo village
Image: International Animal Rescue workers have helped Amy learn to walk again

Amy’s owner claimed she had been there a month but the condition of her limbs and wounds suggested she had been in captivity her whole life, according to the charity.

Animal experts helped Amy learn to walk again in April – a month after her rescue – and she was introduced to other apes for the first time in May.

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In the latest stage of her development, the orangutan has been guided into a forest enclosure at the Conservation Centre in Ketapang, West Borneo.

Alan Knight, IAR’s chief executive, said: “After the terrible mistreatment and neglect Amy suffered while she was chained up in a small, dark crate, it is incredibly poignant to watch her walking so trustingly beside her keeper and following him carefully across the metal drawbridge to her new home.”

Amy is one of 20 orangutans to have recently moved to the new island, called Pulau Besar, or Big Island, which is part of 64 acres of forest bought by IAR after a fundraising appeal.

Surrounded by water, orangutans and keepers use a drawbridge ladder to get into the enclosure.

Amy the orangutan being led onto her new island, called Pulau Besa with another orangutan
Image: Amy is led onto her new island, called Pulau Besa, with another orangutan

Amy has been joined by three-year-old male orangutan Dio, who has a bullet lodged behind his left eye which has left him partially sighted.

He had been chained up by his owner in 2014 after being bought from hunters who shot his mother.

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    Far-right party to enter Austrian government

    Heinz-Christian Strache
    Image: The FPO’s Heinz-Christian Strache is tipped to be deputy chancellor

    Austria is set to become the only western European country with a far-right party in government.

    The head of the conservative People’s Party (OVP), Sebastian Kurz, has struck a coalition deal with the far-right Freedom Party (FPO).

    The FPO will take charge of the foreign, interior and defence ministries, among others, while its leader, 48-year-old Heinz-Christian Strache, will be deputy chancellor.

    Mr Kurz, 31, will be the youngest leader in Europe. His OVP will run ministries including finance and justice.

    When the OVP won Austria’s election on 15 October it did so with a hard line on immigration – a policy which often overlapped with that of the FPO.

    The FPO was third, taking 26% of the vote.

    “Nobody has anything to fear,” said the FPO’s secretary general and Austria’s next interior minister, Herbert Kickl.

    Sebastian Kurz
    Image: Sebastian Kurz says he wants to increase security and combat illegal immigraton

    Mr Kurz held a joint news conference with Mr Strache and told reporters: “Our aims are quite clear.

    “We want to ease the tax burden for people, we want to strengthen our economy, which will bolster our social system.”

    Mr Kurz, known as ‘wunderwuzzi’ or ‘whizz-kid’, added: “And first and foremost we want to increase security in our country, including by combating illegal immigration.”

    While Mr Kurz has said his administration will be pro-European, both he and Mr Strache have expressed doubts about further social integration.

    Sebastian Kurz
    Image: Mr Kurz, 31, is Europe’s youngest leader

    The two men presented their agreement to Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, a former Greens leader who narrowly beat the FPO in a presidential vote in 2015.

    Mr Van der Bellen, who has the right to reject ministers, has said a new government could be sworn in early next week if everything went to plan.

    Following their meeting, Mr Van der Bellen said they had agreed it was in Austria’s “national interest” to remain at the “centre of a strong European Union”.

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    The FPO’s success mirrors that of similar parties across Europe. Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party is now the second-largest in the Netherlands, the Front National in France was involved in a run-off for the presidency in May and representatives from Germany’s AfD have entered the Bundestag.

    When the FPO was last in government, under the late Joerg Haider, other EU countries imposed sanctions on Vienna in protest.

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