Our PRM team in Nles Mamse Camp usually leave early for patrols, but unexpected heavy rainfall recently kept the team waiting at camp until mid-morning to avoid water damage to the radio receiver equipment. It was 10 a.m. by the time the team were able to head off. However, luck was on their side and they still managed to make observations one cheek-padded male named Rafli, and the mother-infant pair Signe and Bungaran.
Rafli was observed spending most of his time up in the trees: The post-downpour cool weather gave him quite an appetite, and he filled up on forest foods, in particular young meranti leaves. Rafli also let out eight long calls, after which he moved through the thick canopy and disappeared from sight. The team tried to get a visual, but heavy rains resumed shortly after noon, forcing the team to take shelter. The rain showed no sign of letting up, so the team decided to return back to Nles Mamse Camp.
The next morning, just as the sun started to peek through the forest canopy around Camp Nles Mamse, we heard a long call away in the distance. We rushed to see if we could pick up a radio signal – sure enough, it was Rafli! The team quickly located him relaxing in a tree, enjoying the warm rays of the morning sun. Over the next two hours of observation, Rafli consumed a large amount of liana fibre and various forest fruits. He appeared in good health and was seen actively moving through the trees. At around 5 p.m., we saw him building his night nest.
Rafli warms up under the morning sun
The team attempted to follow Rafli the next day, but this time could not pick up his signal. After walking up the trail, the team came across mother-infant pair Signe and Bungaran, so decided to follow and observe them instead.
Signe was observed actively eating forest foods that day, with lianas appearing to be her favourite. She was also seen eating forest fruits, young leaves and fibres, rattan shoots and artocarpus bark. Her son, Bungaran, playedalone nearby, and confidently dangled and moved from tree to tree.
A typical toddler, Bungaran kept vying for his mother’s attention as she tried to rest: He kept stroking her head, as though pleading with her to play with him. Ever the patient and doting mother, Signe eventually gave in to his repeated requests and got up to play with him.
As the afternoon darkened, the pair retired for the evening at about 6 p.m. once Signe had finished constructing the night nest. Once satisfied the duo were settled for the night, the team headed back to camp.
Our PRM team finished off the day feeling pleased to have caught up with some of our released orangutans. It is truly wonderful to see these individuals at home in the forest, in good health and adapting well to life in the Kehje Sewen Forest.
Text by: PRM team in Nles Mamse Camp, Kehje Sewen Forest