Three months ago, she was in shackles, with a chain clamped around her neck and desperation in her eyes.
After being neglected and held captive for 15 years, Mely the orangutan struggled to walk, climb or feed herself. But what a difference 12 weeks – and the generosity of Daily Mail readers – makes.
Now, playing happily in her nest and eating fruit and leaves, the look on Mely’s face clearly shows she is enjoying every moment of her new life after being rescued from a riverside shack in Borneo.
‘When Mely first arrived her steps were very calculated and slow since she had to learn how to walk and climb,’ said Carolynn Fitterer, a volunteer with the charity International Animal Rescue.
‘But now she has become quite playful, and I always see her weaving in and out of tyre swings and ropes suspended in mid air.’As a baby, Mely was taken as a pet by a fisherman who shot her mother as a trophy.
But as she grew into an adult, he lost interest, leaving her chained to the balcony as a tourist attraction and surviving on scraps of unsuitable food that were thrown to her.
After Mely’s plight featured in the Mail, readers raised more than £8,000 to help International Animal Rescue seize her. She travelled by river, road and air to get to the forest sanctuary in Ketapang, Indonesia.
Miss Fitterer said: ‘Mely’s personality is so sweet I never would have guessed she came from such a horrific background. She always comes over to say hello, and she is incredibly gentle.
'Mely got to do so many things for the first time here, like touch the hand of another orangutan, climb higher than one metre off the ground, and sleep in a bed of leaves.’