With tired eyes and mind, I enter the forest at 04.00. There are logs to dodge, roots to jump and rivers to balance over before you can start the follow of the orangutans.
The first thing we do in the morning is to collect poo, and if we are lucky we get some pee too! The jungle is a mentally hard place, but for sure it also gives plenty of rewards!
I’ve seen 19 orangutans on central Kalimantan so far. Doesn’t sound much maybe, but remember that they are solitary animals unlike many other primates. The area where I live is actually considered as one of the most orangutan-dense areas on Borneo! Some of the orangutans I’ve just passed by, or caught glimpses of, while others I have followed for days. This is an introduction for you to my orangutan family – and we start today with Inul – the mother of Orangutans…and her poor kids!
The mother of orangutans. That’s what I think she looks like at least with her long face and understanding expression. Inul is thin, with her long hair she will on a bad hair-day, look like she came from a mental institution, while on a normal day she has just stared into the well of wisdom. Actually, she is not just a mother, but a grandmother (Her adult daughter Desy has a baby, unfortunatley I haven’t seen her). Right now Inul has two kids which she is taking in her custody
When Inul sees a person she often kissqueak. This is an orangutan sound, which they make to show that they don’t like your presence altough to us it sounds more like they are kissing. In the beginning when we started following her just a couple of days ago, she was doing this all the time, but it seems she is getting used having a person investigating her.
Her daughter, Ipsy, is the cockiest orangutan I’ve seen so far and resembles more a toad (it’s not a compliment). Although she is still kind of a child, and still follows her mother in the jungle, she loves to display her muscles to you. She approached me several times and gave me a fierce look, before ripping off a small branch, evoking a small explosion of leafs. However, she often fails to break the branch, and I can almost see her blushing of embarrassment, shamefully climbing behind a bush in the tree, out of sight.
Ivan is the youngest and smallest orangutan I’ve seen so far. Only about six months old, he holds on to his mother for his dear life, and mother Inul seems to think he is an old plaster, ready to fall off. At several occasions he has almost fallen to the ground, where upon he just manages to hold on to a small lump of hair with one hand, hanging over a 10-15 meter drop, screaming. Though looking like the Mother of Orangutans, meanwhile Inul just continues feeding. What a caring and loving mother! Leastways, he learns life the hard way early on!
To follow Inul & Co is fun, but also means long field days. Remember that we’ve been up since 3 AM, and Ipsy likes to stay up longer than many other orangutans. While some for the orangutans are nesting at 14.30, Ipsy can stay up ’til dusk around 17. The day doesn’t end there, once back in camp it’s time to go through data, take care of samples, take care of all equipment and prepare for tomorrow morning! To be honest it has taken some time to get used to, but by now when things are starting to work on routine it’s easier! And hold on – more orangutans are coming within a few days!
I just reached 100 followers, thanks to readers reblogs. Thank you very much!! I appreciate that you spread the word and work of conservation and research on these animals!