orangutans

Chubby Ella Content with Life in Batikap

I am new to Batikap and readily admit to a long-term love of orangutans, which began after I learned of their remarkable intelligence and endured due to their great behavioural charm. Recently, I have found myself most taken with Ella.

Ella has kept me laughing over the past few days of observation: It is just something in her expression. She is one of the few released orangutans who have grown somewhat chubby in the forest, despite having to forage for food all on her own. In comparison to other orangutans that move naturally and gracefully through the forest, Ella seems to move her body about in a clunky and loud manner. Rather than travelling smoothly from tree to tree, Ella moves rather awkwardly and often rests her bulky frame in trees visibly too small for it. She never appears concerned by this, however, and her face retains a look rather reminiscent of someone who has just come out of a relaxing massage, completely content with life.

We recently began observing Ella again out of concern she had spent two days in a row in her nest, without feeding much. We were worried she might be sick, and she became the subject of many a conversation here at Batikap as concern for her grew. The first day I observed Ella was after two days of flooding in which we hadn’t been able to reach her. I was very worried when we came upon her laying motionless in a tree, eyes closed. I started to panic a bit until finally she slowly, with her typical yogic expression, reached out for a leaf. Since then, she has caught up on the feeding she missed: Yesterday she spent about four hours slurping termites out of their nests. Now that she is up and moving, we can confirm there has been no dent in her endearing bulk.

Text and Photos by: Coral, PRM Team volunteer in Batikap Conservation Forest

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