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January 05, 2017
Charlie was released to Central Kalimantan’s Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest in November 2012 together with his mother, Chanel. Our PRM team recently caught up with Charlie, who has grown more independent and developed good socializations skills during his five years in the wild.
Charlie was born in 2009 on the pre-release island of Kaja, and upon his release was just four years old and weighed 4.6 kilograms. Charlie is now seven years old, appears to be in top condition, and looks like any other typical wild orangutan.
It has been nearly three years since our PRM team last monitored Chanel and Charlie together. We long suspected the two had explored deep in the Bukit Batikap Forest and that their transmitter chips had stopped working properly. However, our team members recently got lucky when they came across Charlie in a tree along the banks of the Joloi River, minus mother Chanel.
Charlie eats fruit high up in a tree
For a full week, our PRM team monitored Charlie’s activities, which mostly involved spending time high up in the trees. The team noted that he frequently gathered with other orangutans, in particular, Cindy, Riwut, Manggo, and the two mother-infant pairs of Emen-Embong and Sif-Sifa.
Charlie with Manggo
Charlie with Embong
The team never saw Charlie rejected by other orangutans – he was always welcomed by everyone, and they seemed to appreciate his company.
The process involved in finding, following, and observing orangutans in their natural habitats is no mean feat: especially with orangutans like tricky Charlie, who has regularly outsmarted our PRM team by sneaking off during their watches and hiding from them behind the forest’s thick canopy. As a true, wild orangutan, Charlie now feels uncomfortable with human presence.
Charlie moves away to evade the PRM team
Charlie hides in the treetops
The team will keep trying to locate Chanel. Hopefully she is in good health and has given birth to another baby in the Bukit Batikap Forest! While we are yet to know her whereabouts, we are certain of one thing Chanel has done successfully during her time in Batikap – she has nurtured and raised her son to become an amazing, wild orangutan. Please stay healthy, Charlie!
Text by: Monterado Fridman, Nyaru Menteng Communication and Education Division Coordinator
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