During late summer, the Nyaru Menteng Rehabilitation Centre received two new infant orangutans. Both of the infants had lost their mothers and therefore became a part of the rehabilitation program.
Two baby orangutans were earlier this year rescued by the Central Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency’s (BKSDA) wildlife rescue team and brought to the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Here, they have received care and met the other young orangutans in Forest School, where the caregivers will teach them the necessary skills that their mothers are unfortunately not longer able to.
Read: 12 orangutans rescued in 2020
Learn more about the two new Forest School pupils below.
Jeni, a female baby orangutan, was brought to Nyaru Menteng on 24 August 2020. Upon her arrival at the centre, 10-month-old Jeni weighed in at only 5.0 kg. She had dry skin, and wounds on her back and one of her legs. From these wounds, it was evident that Jeni had experienced a traumatising time in captivity.
Like all orangutans that are brough to the centre, Jeni went through a quarantine period at arrival. In her early days of quarantine, Jeni had difficulty adjusting to her new surroundings. She was having problems with her leg injury and was showing signs of shock. This was not surprising, since she had not long ago experienced the trauma of being separated from her mother.
In the wild, baby orangutans depend fully on their mothers to survive and to learn life skills from, until they reach independence around the age of seven or eight. Losing their mother at such a young age causes severe trauma. The medical team and care givers were determined to ensure that Jeni would feel comfortable and safe in her new environment. And the team’s hard work paid off: Jeni has since grown comfortable with her new life, and in September joined the other young orangutans in the Forest School Nursery Group. She now shows us daily her love for climbing trees and her healthy appetite.
Alexander was rescued on 25 August 2020 and he was estimated to be around 9 months old at the time of his rescue. He was claimed to have been found by a resident of a local village. The local resident who found Alexander alleged that he had seen an adult female orangutan being attacked by a dog. The female was carrying a baby at the time, but had fled the scene in a panic and left her baby behind. The resident came to the baby orangutan’s aid and placed him in a cage for about a week, before he was collected up by a team from the BKSDA.
After 11 days of treatment, Alexander was handed over to Nyaru Menteng on 5 September 2020. During the routine examination at the quarantine facility, the medical team found that he weighed in at only 3.5 kg. He also had dry skin, matted hair, and wounds on both legs and arms. During his two months of quarantine, Alexander experienced digestive problems and his stomach was visibly bloated. He initially refused to drink the milk offered by the surrogate mothers. As with Jeni, Alexander was going through a stage of grieving, after losing his mother.
Alexander is now showing positive signs he is recovering from his trauma and adjusting to his new life. In early November, he joined other young orangutans in the Forest School Nursery Group. He now enjoys playing in the trees with his new friends, including fellow new arrival, Jeni.
Read more about rescuing orangutans.