Out of the seven orangutans that are now three ready for release, we have selected three for the first release, since we can only do three at a time. As one of our best students in the group, Jojo is one of the three. Along with Jojo, we have Juvi and Cemong who´s getting ready for a life back in the forests. Ready for release means they have passed all the requirements needed to be independent and survive in the wild, such as making nests, knowing and finding enough food sources, even during low season, and climbing skills. Secondly, they also have to pass at least one full season in the forest school in Tembak. This way we can access wether they can identify and happily eat enough different foods, that might be their favorite, but would be available when food sources are scarce.
Jojo, Juvi and Cemong are now in quarantine, which is needed prior to release. They had a medical check-up and we are awaiting the test results from the lab. All three have also received an implant chip. this microchip is not a GPS System, but can be tracked within a certain radius by using the receiver and an antenna. It will help the monitoring team to follow the orangutans to observe them and collect behavioral data.
compared with the other babies, is very dilligent in finding her food herself in the forest, although her taste for young leaves was getting slightly less the last few months. The other babies can find food as well, but they seem to be less active in looking for it and would often rather wait until someone else finds it for them.
Although not as advanced as Oscar´s nesting skills, hers ist adequate and she likes to play with leaves, collect and organise them in some kind of nest shape.
Do you know that unpleasant felling called jealousy- When you really want something that someone else has? Orangutans also sometimes feel that way towards others or even caretakers.
One morning on route to forest school with the babies, one of the caretakers wanted to carry Viko from the enclosure to the forest. All of a sudden, Terra came closer and bit Viko´s hand that was held by the caretaker. Terra tried relentlessly to separate them, but Viko held on to the caretaker´s hand tightly, while making loud noises as she did not want to be separated. It was her turn to go to forest school with the caretakers, and she wasn´t planning on giving that right up so easily.
Terra wasn´t happy about the fact that she had to wait her turn to go to forest school and was very jealous that it was Viko´s turn and that she would receive all the attention from the caretakers.
It is an unfortunate fact for the orangutans, that one caretaker can only take two babies at a time, for he or she can only keep a close eye on each one and be able to help them when needed.
Yooohooo caretaker, where are you??
When Bos Benni just arrived in the quarantine facilities at SOC, he would often cry and make a loud noise, which was a great concern for the caretakers and medical staff. However, when they came to investigate what was wrong, he immediately stopped crying and was back to normal. As soon as they left, the same thing would happen.
Bos Benni was just very unhappy alone, in a new environment and just needed some friendly company. Every orangutan needs different things, some are like Benni and need company to be comforted, others get scared of people and prefer to hide under a towel or leaves for the first few days after arrival. They all arrive with their own trauma that we have to take care of and make sure we provide them with the best help possible during this very sensitive transition period.
Benni is doing a lot better now, but is still kept separete from the others, as he is currently receiving treatment for his intestines that are not completely healed yet. We hope to be able to introduce him to his peers soon.
Baby Victoria has gotten quite friendly with the keepers and now enjoys playing, even though it wasn´t that long ago when she was reserved and preferred being on her own, not even coming close to the care takers.
All enclosures are to be cleaned on a daily basis to ensure the health and safety of the orangutans. Some of the cheeky ones like to disturb the caretakers trying to do their job, such as Victoria who kept on pulling the hose the caretaker was trying to clean the enclosure with. He tried to spray her with water, but she just thought this was a great game and started clapping her hands! She continued to do this and would open her mouth to drink water in between the clapping. So there was no other possibility than just playing with her...
He is improving his problem solving skills such as tool use to get food by using a stick for instance to dig for ants nests. Even though he is capable of finding food in the forest, he seems to have become slightly lazy doing it himself.
While exploring the forest floor at the Tembak forest school, Oscar saw something that caught his attention - a grasshopper! He tried to catch it, but the grasshopper kept jumping out of reach. Oscar wasn´t giving up that easily and eventually managed to knock him down and have him as a little snack, before he peacefully continued exploring the forest floor.
Grasshoppers form part of an orangutan diet. Orangutans are vegetarians, but they so also occasionally eat insects such as termites, ants and - grasshoppers.
The product from animals such as honey from a beehive is a nice treat, after you managed to source some with or without being stung by the bees, the later not always the most convenient way of getting your food. Molly learnt her lesson after being chased and stung by a swarm of angry bees who´s nest she sent tumbling down to the forest floor whilst attacking it with a dead log. Even with her swollen, she fought back and flattened several to make sure she got to her honey. Quite a sacrifice for honey..
Baby Victoria, who is still in Sintang, is fast improving her skills to catch insects. Normally when she got a piece of ants nest, she would bite it to get the ants out and then eat it. However, she had come to a tougher part of the ants nest that was too hard to bite through and had to device a plan. She grabbed some leaves with she wrapped around the nest to protect herself from getting bitten by the ants and smashed the nest on the floor. Her efforts paid off as the nest broke into pieces and ants came running out. Victoria now could eat them with ease from the leaves that functioned as a plate as well as protection.
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