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AN UNEXPECTED, WILD FRIENDSHIP

Recently, the weather in Central Kalimantan, especially around Nyaru Menteng, has been unpredictable: Sometimes it is very hot and dry, while other times there is heavy rainfall and cool temperatures. As a result, several of Nyaru Menteng’s Forest School students fell ill, including Topan. Their symptoms included coughing and a runny nose. To avoid transmission to other orangutans, our veterinarians routinely conduct regular check-ups of forest school students.

Apparently, during Topan’s absence, someone was always waiting for her at Forest School – a wild, female orangutan we named Tuti. According to observations made by our veterinarian, this wild female is around 6-7 years old, an age when a wild-raised orangutan would begin to separate from its mother. Since Tuti is female, her home range is not too far from the area in which she was born and raised.

According to our surrogate mothers, Tuti is always quite interested in Forest School, but will only watch from the top of a tree. When she realises there is no Topan, she will immediately leave the area. Despite our initial apprehension at Topan and Tuti interacting, it seems that the two have formed a close friendship!

When Topan returned to Forest School, it was her turn to look for Tuti! After eating a breakfast of cucumbers and corn provided by our surrogate mothers, Topan immediately climbed up into the canopy where she used to play with Tuti. She waited a long time, but Tuti was nowhere to be seen. After a while, Topan moved on to play and explore the forest with Monita and Paulinus.

The next day, Topan tried again to find her best friend in the same area. A surrogate mother who understood what Topan was up to, watched silently and hoped that Tuti would show up to play with Topan, like she had previously. Suddenly, the sound of rustling leaves could be heard coming from the distance, signaling that an orangutan was approaching. Topan immediately took notice and moved toward the direction of the sound. Sure enough, it was Tuti. Topan wasted no time in approaching her, and the two disappeared into a thicket of trees.

Making friends with a wild orangutan has had a positive impact on Topan. She has grown more confident and now explores the forest more than her peers. We hope Topan and Tuti continue to be friends and learn from one another!

You can support Topan on her journey back to the wild herself by adopting her here!

Text by: Communications Team at Nyaru Menteng, Central Kalimantan & Communication Team, BOS Foundation Headquarter, Bogor, West Java

Will you help us rescue, rehabilitate and release orangutans back to freedom? Thank you!

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