Rafli Thriving in Kehje Sewen

Undeterred by a morning downpour, our PRM team recently set out to conduct nest-to-nest observations on Rafli, a male orangutan we released to the southern area of the Kehje Sewen Forest in October 2016.

The team located Rafli at about 5 a.m., still asleep in his nest. He started rousing once the rain let up at around 7 a.m., moved toward the nearest liana, and ate its young leaves for breakfast. It didn’t take long for him to then climb down and forage for shoots on the forest floor.

Rafli eats Calamus shoots

Even though Rafli was preoccupied with eating and exploring, he remained alert and soon sensed the PRM team’s presence: He let out a long call followed by a kiss-squeak to mark his territory and voice his displeasure at being disturbed. The team took heed of his warning and slowly moved away. Once satisfied he was no longer in the company of humans, Rafli got on with his activities and went on his way.

Rafli realizes he is being watched

Rafli lets out a long call

The team gave Rafli some space, and then moved in closer to continue observing him. His long call appeared to have caught the attention of Leonie, a female we released in September 2015. Leonie looked as if she wanted to approach Rafli, but seemed hesitant and maintained her distance. Rafli saw Leonie, who stayed in a nearby tree eating young liana leaves, and was unperturbed by her presence.


Rafli built a day nest at around 9 a.m. and rested in it until just after midday when it the rain started to fall again. Clever Rafli quickly grabbed some broad leaves and used them as a makeshift umbrella to shelter himself from the drizzle.

Once the rain eased off, Rafli went straight back to foraging. He got stuck into the bark, young leaves and fruit of his favourite plant, Ficus sp., which the team observed him devour for almost two hours before he started building his night nest.

Rafli eats barks

Based on what our team has observed, Rafli is adapting well to life in the Kehje Sewen Forest. He is actively foraging, building sound nests, and using his skills to create useful, makeshift tools (such as the leaf umbrella he used to protect himself from the rain). Rafli is also using his long calls to defend his territory and attract females. It is wonderful to see Rafli thriving in his new home!

Text by: PRM team in Camp Nles Mamse, Kehje Sewen Forest.

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