HOPE, February 2019

We are still hoping for Hope to leave the quarantine area soon. Every few days we call the Prodia laboratory in Jakarta to find out when we will get her final TB culture test. Without that we cannot move her because those are the rules of the Ministry of Forestry for orangutan rehabilitants. But since Amory is also waiting for his test results we have put them together and they like sharing the hammock and play with each other.

Hope is quite active, swinging a lot in her enclosure and keeping a keen eye out for when feeding time approaches. Different orangutans are afraid of differing things, perhaps a lot like people. Maybe this has something to do with some past traumatic experiences. They can be afraid of either inanimate objects or living things. One day, just a little spider walked through Hope’s enclosure. First, Hope looked shocked and made a loud noise as if she was very afraid of the spider. Then, she took a piece wood from branches full of leaves the caretakers give to them every day and hit the spider over and over till the spider was gone. We wonder if she once was bitten by a poisonous spider when she was still living with her mother up there in the trees? Anyway, we thought it was great of Hope to overcome her fear and actually use a tool to deal with the problem!

Sometimes the caretakers need to teach orangutans to have fear of dangers, for example, using rubber imitation snakes and wiggling them and looking afraid of the snake. Then the orangutans understand that snakes are to be feared and hopefully they will avoid the snakes in the forest after that.

®text and pictures provided by Masarang.hk and Sintang Orangutan Center