Despite the holiday season, our monitoring team in Batikap was busy during the Christmas and New Year break searching for and following the orangutans. The most important news is that Astrid and her baby are doing very well.
The monitoring team finally could get close enough to find out that it’s a baby girl! We decided to call her Atsuko, based on a famous Japanese anime character created by Fujio Akatsuka in the early 60s. Those of you in Japan may be familiar with Atsuko Kagami, the little girl who was given a magical mirror that let her transform into anything she desires. We certainly hope that our own little Atsuko can live freely and happily as any orangutan would desire in the wild forest.
Meanwhile, Astrid is showing all the signs of being a great mum. Even though Atsuko is her first baby, she is very caring and knows what to do. She spends her days eating even more than usual and does not travel too much as there is an abundance of fruit in the forest at the moment meaning she does not have to search for food. Tarzan was found near Astrid for several days and is still in the area traveling backwards and forwards to check on his new offspring. Unfortunately, we don’t have photos of this new happy forest family yet but will keep trying to capture one for all of you in the near future.
The Old Gang Back TogetherAlso Monic came to pay a visit to the new mum. The old gang got back together again but this time not for long. You may remember that after their release last February, Astrid and Monic stayed together for a long time and later Tarzan joined them and accompanied the two females for almost three weeks.
That occurred in March/April 2012 and was obviously when Atsuko was conceived. However, this time, Tarzan was not too happy about Monic’s company and whenever she tried to get close to Astrid he chased her away. Paternal care does not generally occur in these solitary living apes, but Tarzan seems to be protecting either Astrid or Atsuko or even probably both.
The Others are Doing Well, Too!
Other orangutans are also doing very well. Chanel, Leonora, Emen and other females are seen regularly and are adapting well to their new environment. Males namely Jamiat, Terusan and Menteng have moved away to explore the forest. Probably one of the reasons for this is Tarzan’s presence. Our team is also exploring new areas of the forest and climbing hills from where we record orangutan’s presence thanks to the radio-tracking equipment. Among others we recently picked up Sempung’s signal after a long break.
Even though we still carry on monitoring activities it is slightly more difficult now in the middle of a rainy season. We do not only get wet while in the forest but recently also at camp. Our camp, so far dry and safe even during long and intensive storms finally flooded. We expected that it may happen one day and so it did on the very first day of 2013. It was fun to be able to get out from the boat straight into a bed but we are still looking forward to the dry season.
We all hope the New Year will be as good if not better for our old, new and to be released orangutans. All monitoring team members wish you all a very happy New Year!
Written by: Anna Marzec & Media Romadona