Orangutans are the only great apes known to spend the majority of their lives in solitude. While gorillas and chimpanzees live in social groups, orangutans maintain a solitary existence in their own home ranges, which they will often defend if trespassed by other non-related individuals. However, there are some exceptions – like Compost and Sofi.
Gentle-natured Compost was released in February 2015, and during her first six months in the forest was observed spending time with other orangutans, who were released at the same time. In April 2016, the BOS Foundation released more orangutans, including Sofi, a shy and nervous female. Compost encountered Sofi in the forest and the two were observed spending a lot of time together. This was beneficial for Sofi, who became more confident in the calming company of Compost.
These two beauties began exploring the forest together, sharing food, and grooming one other. It was clear from the very beginning that the two enjoyed being together: They often built their nests in the same tree and napped at the same time.
Then, one day, our post-release monitoring team found Compost alone without Sofi. On the next day however, the team saw branches in a nearby tree move and quickly checked radio tracking signals to detect who it was. To their surprise and delight, Sofi had come back to her friend! At first, Sofi seemed shy and hesitant, but Compost soon approached her, and after a few minutes the two started grooming one another. They then spent a long time feeding on the same piece of bark before continuing on their way together.
While Compost and Sofi are expected to spend most of their lives individually, we hope the two friends will continue to meet again in the Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest and enjoy moments in each other’s company.
Text by: Alizee Martin, PRM Coordinator in Batikap
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