Our team from Nles Mamse Camp in the Kehje Sewen Forest recently observed Ajeng, a female orangutan we released back in September 2015. The team spotted her resting in the top of a tree and quickly began to record her activities, when suddenly a male orangutan approached her. The team didn’t recognise the male, so came to the conclusion that he was a wild orangutan.
In response to his approach, Ajeng quickly climbed down the tree to forage, then climbed back up a different tree to eat high up in the branches.
Ajeng on the ground
Soon after Ajeng had finished feeding, the male advanced closer to her. Again, Ajeng slowly moved away, with the male tailing her.
The wild, male orangutan
The team continued to observe the interaction; however, the male was soon aware of the humans following him and became agitated by their presence. He broke some twigs and branches, and threw them in the direction of the team, who quietly backed away.
Ajeng used this opportunity to move further away from the male, but then bumped into Signe and Bungaran. From a distance, the male kept a watchful eye on Ajeng.
Ajeng with Signe and Bungaran
Not long after this, Signe and Bungaran move off to continue their journey through the forest and left Ajeng to feed alone. Not wanting to miss this opportunity, the male moved in and approached Ajeng once more. After a few hours of persistent stalking, Ajeng seemed to surrender to his advances and accepted his presence. The two then mated.
Ajeng and wild male
After being ‘officially’ accepted, the wild male then accompanied Ajeng wherever she went. We hope interactions like this will give Ajeng the chance to become a mother, and follow in the footsteps of Yayang and Lesan; two previously-released female orangutans who have since given birth in the Kehje Sewen Forest.
Text by: PRM team at Camp Nles Mamse, Kehje Sewen Forest