Very Exciting Time in Batikap

Batikap’s ladies man

Klowor, a young male released on the 14th of February, is the most talked about orangutan in camp. First because he actually came to camp one day and like Tarzan before him, he fed on the Hara tree. He also slept in one of Tarzan’s old nests just behind our camp.  Unlike Tarzan however, Klowor was very interested in actually getting into camp, but we managed to keep him away and to our surprise after that one visit he did not return. Maybe he realized that his presence was not welcome?  The more likely reason though is that he was scared off by  Tarzan who was in the area and repeatedly  long called.

Klowor already supports a scratch on his face and our theory is that he already met with Tarzan and this encounter probably wasn’t a friendly one. Two days later we were informed that people camping down stream from camp spotted Klowor and anther orangutan. Our monitoring team went to check and confirmed that it was indeed Klowor who was accompanied by Darsi; both orangutans were observed sitting together next to each other just resting and hanging out.

Our team was busy that day following other individuals so we only learned that Klowor mated with Darsi later that day. People from the village witnessed it and described the event to  us in great detail. The next day however Klowor seemed to have lost interest in Darsi and they were no longer seen together.

A few days passed and our team finally found Ika and went on to follow her. Just to remind you Ika is living north from camp about 3-4 km away. Guess who was found to be with her? Yes, Klowor! He had traveled 4 km and found himself a new lady friend.  Klowor must be a very attractive male orangutan as Ika also fell for his charms. Our monitoring team, Purnomo and Pak Tuwe were lucky enough this time to witness the romance.

Both orangutans mated twice during the day. Female orangutans sometimes do not share the male interests and they try to escape, but in this case Ika was very cooperative and the couple stayed together until evening. The day after we expected to see how the romance was blossoming. Ika was again found with Klowor, they were still together but this time it was Ika who showed more interest. She followed him everywhere and approached many times. Once she even sat next to him and wrapped her arm around his neck. Unfortunately Klowor was no longer interested and by the end of the day had moved away. We think he is searching for another female and will break another heart. All of our team are now joking that Klowor is a first Batikap’s playboy.

Monic’s disappearance

Monic eating. (Photo by: Adhy)

Monic eating. (Photo by: Adhy)

As we are sure you all know Monic is pregnant. We have suspected this for a few months now and when she disappeared we were sure she found a safe place to give birth. Expecting that she had already given birth to her baby we have been intensively looking for her but with no results which was somewhat perplexing. She was nowhere within her range nor around her last location or anywhere near it. However she wasn’t completely lost as we still managed to record her signal from the hill tops so we knew she was still around. Finally, in first week of March, Anna and Joy found Monic far from her usual range. Moreover we found also Gadis who hadnt been seen for quite some time too.

Excited we started to watch Monic and we quickly realized that she hadn’t yet given birth and the only infant orangutan in the group was Garu who played with both females and by himself most of the day. The two females spent all day together, feeding and traveling a lot. Monic is really big now and we do expect to welcome our second new wild born orangutan sometime at the end of this month. She is still traveling long distances and is constantly moving North maybe to look for a good place to settle for the time when the baby arrives. Astrid also stayed in one location for a few weeks after she had given birth to Atsuko. However she  stayed closer to camp making it very easy for us to keep a close eye on her. We are very excited to soon be welcoming another new baby and have already placed bets whether it will be boy or girl. Some of the guys go as far as predicting that Monic’s baby will look like its dad – Tarzan. Well, we will find out very soon!

Major news about Atsuko

Astrid with her infant. (Photo by: Purnomo).

Astrid with her infant. (Photo by: Purnomo).

Atsuko is Astrid’s baby born in December last year which was a very special Christmas gift for us all! Soon after Atsuko was born one of observers reported that the infant was a girl. Some of us were skeptical but only because it is very difficult to see the sex of tiny orangutan baby who is at all times attached to its mother. So thinking that it was probably a girl we were still trying to reconfirm this information. A few days ago Purnomo with Pak Johanis observed Astrid. Atsuko is getting bigger and even though still carried by Astrid, is playing and moving more. Both observers were lucky to see clearly that what we thought was Astrid’s daughter happens to be her son! Atsuko is a boy, a very healthy and very cute orangutan male who is growing rapidly. Hence the opinion of some our assistants that he is so similar to Tarzan!

Newly released orangutans

We are extremely happy to report that so far all newly released orangutans are doing very well. It took them few days to start moving further from their release locations, but that is nothing unusual. Now all are very confident and some have wondered far away so we have difficulties in keeping up with them. Since day one we saw all individuals snacking and trying different types of wild foods. With every passing day we observe them spending more and more time feeding which is the best sign that they are feeling good in their new home. Now we have 65 released orangutans in Batikap so you can imagine that our monitoring team is quite busy. Still we will do our best to make sure all individuals are in good shape and thriving in their forest home.

 

Text by: Anna Marzec

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5 thoughts on “Very Exciting Time in Batikap

  1. I just love to read your reports from Bukit Bakitap, it´s so great to hear that all the released orangutan are doing well and are now able to live as they were meant to. You are doing such an amazing work. Thank you!!!

  2. Thanks for this wonderful update! It made me so happy to hear these orangutan individuals are doing well!

    Haha, Klowor is indeed the ladies’ man + heartbreaker! Watch out Tarzan!;)

    How is it that villagers are close enough to the Orangutans to be able to see their activities (ex: villagers saw Klowor and Darsi mating)? Isn’t it dangerous to have the Orangutans in such close contact with the village people? What if the people hurt, hunt, or kill the Orangutans? Or what if they transmit disease to the Orangutans?

    Looking forward to meeting Monic’s baby and hopefully we’ll have a few more babies on the way !!!

    • Hi Sasha! To answer your question about villagers. The nearest village is quite far from the release location – 3 hours by boat. However local people’s livelihoods rely on forest products and sometimes people come as far as our camp when they look for things they usually collect (eagle wood, birds nests etc.). We have a very good relationship with them so they often come to visit us to learn more about orangutans, but also to inform us if they saw one and where. This information actually helps the monitoring team to find some of the individuals. We also use all these occasions to talk to people about orangutans in general and certain individuals in particular so everyone can feel safe in the forest both people and orangutans alike. Local people from the nearest village understand well why we are releasing orangutans in Batikap. In fact they are helping and supporting our efforts which is a key to the success of this project. They do not hunt orangutans, they also do not interact with the orangutans or have contact with them. Most of the time villagers just spot individuals along the river. As most of people are still a little bit afraid of orangutans they never leave the boat but just slow it down to watch them. Then they come to camp to inform us about their observations, tell us what they have seen and ask some questions which we happily answer.

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