Exciting September in Batikap

Bukit Batikap, September 2012

Our Post Release Monitoring Coordinator Anna Marzec, Vet Meryl Yemima, Vet Meriam Sirupang and our volunteer Melissa Applegate have all returned from Batikap for a well-deserved break. And they sent us exciting updates and wonderful photos on Ebol, Monic, Ika and, last but not least, our beloved Tarzan!

Ebol, Claiming Her Independence

Little Ebol is getting more and more confident and independent (photo by Meriam Sirupang)

Ebol is a young female. She was released in Batikap on 9th August. Our monitoring team followed her intensively and although we expected that she would stay with her mother, she didn’t. She is on her own now and even though she did not have too much forest experience since she came to Nyaru Menteng Rehabilitation Center with her mother when she was only 2 years old, she is doing very well.

Ebol, busy eating ants (photo by Meryl Yemima)

She feeds frequently and on different food types: fruits, leaves, pith and bark. She also builds night nests and travels through the trees. She occasionally comes down to the ground but only to look for food which she can always find. Lately she crossed the river and as all other released orangutans she is exploring the area of Bukit Simon (Simon’s Hill). Her mother – Mama Ebol was recently found there as well so we are all very curious to see whether the two females find each other again and how they develop their relationship in their new environment.

Is Monic Pregnant?

Monic, feeding on “Lunuk Opan” fruits (photo by Anna Marzec)

Monic is one of  the first four orangutans we released back in February 2012 and also one of the most frequently followed. We have observed her frequently since the first days and it is our great pleasure to report that she seems to be very happy wild orangutan. We recently also noticed some changes in her physical appearance and we are suspecting that she may be pregnant! This is not sure yet but we will definitely keep an eye on Monic and let you know as soon as we can confirm. Either she is pregnant or simply eating a lot! We are all very excited and who knows maybe in a few months we will have first wild born orangutan. We can’t wait!

Ika, in the Mood for Termites

Lovely Ika, searching for termites (photo by Anna Marzec)

Ika was released at the end of March 2012. She is also regularly observed and we can see how she is progressing. Her food repertoire is constantly increasing and she also spends more and more time feeding, which is a very good sign. When we followed her last time she fed on termites. All our orangutans eat termites and ants occasionally, but that day Ika seemed to love it. She found one termite nest and spent 2 hours eating termites. When she was done and there was not much left, she simply looked for another tree with a termite nest on it, and then again and again. However she still ate fruits and leaves but was clearly in a mood for some protein.

Beloved Tarzan, the King of Batikap

The current king of Batikap, our beloved and very popular Tarzan (photo by Melissa Applegate)

Tarzan is still around so we do see him occasionally. However, he also often disappears. We haven’t yet discovered where he goes when he is not within our transect system. There are days during each month when he comes closer to camp so we can hear his long calls, but then he moves away probably to check out the surrounding area. Now that we have  quite a few adult flanged males released into Batikap, Tarzan may likely be busy making sure that no one is entering his territory. Who knows maybe he is also interested in recently released females? Tarzan is very handsome and strong male who definitely already gained a top position here in Batikap so he may not even be challenged by other males and should be popular among the ladies, but that we will see in the future. Until now he is definitely a number one.

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4 thoughts on “Exciting September in Batikap

  1. What a wonderful update on little Ebol, Monic, Ika, and Tarzan!!!!!!!!

    I certainly hope it’s true that Monic is pregnant (if so, is Tarzan the father then?) and that she will have a first-generation wild-born baby orangutan in the near future!!

    Also, are there any palm oil plantations or farms or human inhabitance nearby where Tarzan might be visiting and he might be viewed as a pest? Or are there any areas he may be trekking off to that hold danger for him?

    Thank you for the update & best wishes to ALL the released Orangutans! {:(|)}

    • Thanks, Sasha.

      If Monic is indeed pregnant (please don’t get over excited, we still have not confirmed this :p), it is impossible to know who the father is. Tarzan is not the only male anymore in the area.

      There are only 2 villages around Batikap – Tumbang Naan and Tumbang Tohan – which consist of traditional Dayak communities. We are working with them on a number of Community Development activities. Furthermore, we also employ them to work in our Monitoring Camp – as kitchen help as well as our Post Monitoring Team members! In fact, most of the people who work in our camp are actually local people from Tumbang Naan and Tumbang Tohan. So threats from them is very, very low.

      No industrial plantations anywhere near Batikap. You don’t have to worry too much. Just like raising our own children, we must believe that they have obtained all the skills and knowledge to be on her own. At the end of the day, we must trust them and let them go.

  2. Oh Ebol!How well you have adapted to life in the forest!To go off on your own,making nests,crossing the river to explore Bukit Simon and finding plenty of fresh fruit,leaves & bark to eat, just shows how independent you are & what a wonderful job your Mama did on bringing you up.What a fine Orangutan you are!I do hope you stay in touch with your mum,she must be keen to know what you are up to(like all mums!)Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Monic is pregnant?A successful outcome if she is,testamount to the care she has received,allowing her to be a true,free Orangutan!How long before you know for certain?Am I right-is the gestation period for Orangutans the same as humans?What can I say about Ika-she sounds just like a child in a swwet shop!Trying everything & gorging themselves till they are stuffed!Good for you Ika-you enjoy the fruits of the forest,you deserve it!Oh Tarzan!What an elusive character you are,I’m sure you are a real charmer,you check out your territory,sending out long calls!Who are you hoping to attract?So lovely to read this latest update,all the Orangutans are thriving & happy,doing just what an Orangutan should!Thank you!:D

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