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Sayang Goes Solo in the Kehje Sewen Forest


When the PRM teams set out each morning on radio tracking patrols aimed at locating orangutans in the Kehje Sewen Forest they cannot always predict who they will find. On October 3, right after leaving camp, the team from Camp Lesik heard the familiar sounds of branches cracking and leaves rustling in the distance. As Kehje Sewen is home to many tree-dwelling animals, it was only when the team spotted a treetop swaying that they knew it was indeed an orangutan.

The team followed as the orangutan moved through the trees and higher up a hill. Climbing up the hill, the team saw Sayang, Yayang’s eldest daughter and big sister to baby Louise. This family of three is often seen travelling, eating and sleeping close together in the forest (Read the story here: A Mother’s Bond) – but this time Sayang was traveling on her own. Sayang is maturing, and will start spending more days alone as an independent female, but we expect to still see her together with her mother and sister from time to time which is normal female behaviour within wild orangutan populations.

The team, keeping a respectful distance, recorded two hours of activity data, which allows us to continuously review how well the orangutans are progressing over time. Sayang is a very independent female and consistently shows her displeasure at meeting the PRM team by vigorously shaking branches and kiss squeaking.

This behaviour is positive as is shows that Sayang prefers the company of other orangutans over humans, which is exactly what the PRM team hope for any orangutan released to the forest. We’ll keep monitoring Sayang and we look forward to her becoming an independent female in Kehje Sewen.

Text by: Penelope Coulter, PRM Volunteer in Camp Lesik, Kehje Sewen Forest

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