When you think of orangutans, an image springs to mind of these magnificent creatures high up in the trees, moving from branch to branch feeding on fruit and resting in treetop nests. Orangutans do, however, occasionally leave the safety of the trees to spend time exploring and foraging on the forest floor – but there are some, like Emen, who take to the ground for other reasons.
Emen is the mother to Embong, a 7-year-old male who has yet to leave her side and who still wants to suckle and climb on her back. With a big baby still in tow and tiring her, Emen, like all exhausted mothers, takes time out on occasion to relax.
Our PRM team recently spotted Emen and her son feeding in a fig tree along the river. After a breakfast of figs, Emen left Embong in the trees and descended to the ground where she appeared to rest by the river. She moved some rocks clumsily about but could not seem to get comfortable, so left the spot and moved a little further along the river’s edge before discovering a perfectly shaded bank of sand. Looking weary, she lowered her head to the sand and gave herself a time out.
Emen stayed fixed in this comical ostrich-like stance for a few seconds before rolling over and laying down on the ground in a starfish pose, seemingly drained and ready for a relaxing nap. Knowing her son does not like to venture from the trees to the ground, this clever mother seems to have found a unique way of clocking up some much needed “me time”.
Just another day in the life of a wild, busy orangutan mother!
Text and photos by: Alizee Martin, PRM Team volunteer in Batikap Conservation Forest