Our PRM team from Camp Nles Mamse recently set out to find and observe Leonie in the Kehje Sewen Forest. The team headed for the place where Leonie was last seen and relied on radio transmitters to locate her. After hiking uphill to follow Leonie’s signal, the team soon spotted her plucking shoots on the forest floor.
While Leonie happily foraged, the team noticed she had a wild male companion who was waiting nearby up in the trees. The wild male quickly became agitated by the team’s presence: He broke twigs and branches off the trees and threw them at the team below, then moved swiftly from tree to tree as if to intimidate them or chase them away.
Leoni eats shoots on the forest floor
His efforts were not in vain. The team, wishing to avoid a potential altercation, backed off to a safe distance and continued observing Leonie from afar using binoculars. With the team out of sight, the wild male appeared to calm down. Once she finished feeding, Leonie climbed back up into the trees to approach her companion; however, he suddenly moved out of view and left the area. Leonie then turned in the opposite direction and moved away through the trees.
Leonie moves through the trees
Leonie takes a break to rest in a tree and eat
The team conducted nest-to-nest observations on Leonie over several consecutive days, and noted she was feeding well. She spent a lot of time foraging and consuming natural foods, in particular young liana leaves, and Lithocarpus, Etlingera, and Calamus plants. She actively moved through the trees to forage, and only climbed down to ground level when she wanted to pick and eat shoots.
Leonie has been living in the Kehje Sewen Forest for more than a year now and seems to be thriving as a wild orangutan. In this secure habitat, safe from the threat of illegal forest destruction, we hope Leonie will remain healthy and one day help produce the next generation of Kehje Sewen inhabitants.
Text by: PRM team in Nles Mamse Camp, Kehje Sewen Forest