Family Life in Batikap

Life in Batikap has become even more colorful. New Mum Monic is protecting and showering her baby with much love all day, every day. Meanwhile, Markisa, who has two beautiful daughters just saw her eldest daughter, Manggo move on to live on her own independently. Matilda, another Mummy, is busy teaching her eldest daughter, Astria, to build a nest. How about Lesta’s family after 8 months roaming the marvelous Batikap?

Monic and her Baby Son, Messi

Since her labor, the monitoring team has been supervising and checking Monic’s condition for three to four hours every day. This is done to ensure that Mum and baby are continuing to progress nicely. Intensive observations on Monic and Messi is undertaken really carefully so that the Mum and baby do not become stressed at seeing so many people around them.


Monic and her son Messi

Monic seems to love her baby son so dearly. She frequently cleans Messi’s hair by licking it. When she is eating, Monic will cover him with some leaves or sit behind a big tree trunk as if she is protecting her one month old baby.


When she is eating, Monic will cover him with some leaves or sit behind a big tree trunk as if she is protecting Messi

Manggo Met her Mum and Sister

Manggo who is now 8 years old, is growing up and becoming independent. In August and early September, this young female orangutan seems to enjoy carrying out her activities on her own, without her Mum (Markisa) and her baby sister (Uli). She is no longer the little girl who always wanted to be with her Mum. She has grown up!

One day, whilst she was eating sangkuang by the River Joloi, Manggo met Markisa and Uli who happened to be feeding and travelling in the same area. Seeing her first daughter eating, Markisa tried to approach her. The family got back together but each of them were still busy focusing on their own activities.


Manggo who is now 8 years old, is growing up and becoming independent

The Patient Mum Matilda

While Markisa had already seen her daughter, Manggo, progress and live and forage on her own, Matilda is still teaching and nurturing Astria, her daughter.

Astria is Matilda’s first daughter. She still needs helps from her Mum to find food and build nests. Astria still needs to learn a lot from her Mum to be an independent orangutan.



From observations, the monitoring team inform us that Astria is still using her old nest to sleep. Sometimes, Matilda helps her daughter by repairing her old nest so that her daughter can sleep comfortably. Matilda usually builds her nest close to her daughter’s. She teaches her daughter to build a nest patiently. In addition to learning from her mother, Astria also loves to play with her baby sister, Georgina. Astria is always happy to be around her family. She doesn’t seem to want to be far from her Mum and baby sister.

Sometimes Matilda goes to the ground to find food. In moments like these, Astria is still up high in the trees; she doesn’t like to play on the ground and is afraid of human presence.

Finding Lesta’s Family

Lesta and hes son, Lewis have been untrackable for 8 months since last February, on the day they were reintroduced to the forest. The monitoring team has been continually searching for their signal up to the highest points in the release area, but unfortunately, there was still no result.

The wait is finally over. On October 2, 2013, Lesta and Lewis were found along the Joloi heading to the Monnu area. They looked healthy and were actively looking for food. The monitoring team saw Lesta eat young suli (Zingiber sp.) leaves, rattan and seluwoi. Lesta descended to the ground several times to find more food. When she went to the ground, Lewis was always in his mother’s arms. But when they were up high in the trees, Lewis was confident enough to play by himself. Lewis was actively swinging among tree branches and is now very active in choosing and learning about natural foods from his Mum. He copies everything that his Mum does, including trying every food eaten by his mom.


Lesta and her son Lewis

Lewis who was born on Kaja Island in March 2011, seems to be cleverly adapting to his new environment. One example, is that when it is hot, he will put some leaves on his head. He shows it to his Mum and as if to make him happy, Lesta will imitate it. Lesta loves her son so much. Although she lets Lewis play by himself, Lesta is always watching him from close by when he is playing.


When it is hot, Lewis will put some leaves on his head

Text and photos by: Ike Naya Silana

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