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DAVI – THE ADVENTUROUS EATER

Davi is nearly seven years old and a student at Samboja Lestari’s Forest School, where she continues to learn the skills required to survive in the wild. Davi practices daily how to find food, build nests and recognise dangers in the forest.

Every morning, on her way to Forest School, Davi takes time to pick up seeds from the forest floor or will pluck shoots of grass still wet with morning dew to chew on. For young orangutans like Davi, these are good habits that help develop the ability to recognise natural foods in the wild.

The feeding platform is one of Davi’s favourite places in Forest School. As soon as Davi arrives at Forest School, she heads to the platform to enjoy the fruit breakfast the surrogate mothers have prepared.

Once the food has run out, Davi will climb up a tree and search for wild fruit and leaves to eat. With a diet made up of 90% fruit, orangutans are important seed dispersal agents that contribute significantly to forest regeneration and plant species diversity. The seeds of many forest fruits will germinate and grow after passing through the digestive systems of animals, including orangutans.

Davi’s survival skills have improved thanks to her inquisitive nature significantly. Once, a technician observed Davi licking a dry leaf that had holes in it, covered in bugs. She is never afraid to try different foods that she thinks can be consumed. Davi also pays close attention to what her friends eat and is often interested in tasting what they are snacking on.

Her keen interest in food was recently a cause for concern, as Davi suddenly gained one kilogram, bringing her Body Condition Score (BCS) to 3.5, meaning she is slightly overweight. However, considering her young age and high level of activity in Forest School, her BCS is still within a normal range.

We are delighted to witness Davi’s development and daring to try new foods. We hope that her foraging and other survival skills continue to improve so that she can one day be released to the forest to live as a true, wild orangutan. Way to go, Davi!

If you would like to support our work, why not symbolically adopt one of our Forest School students? With quarterly progress updates, it’s a beautiful way to be a vital part of an orangutan’s journey back to the wild. And please don’t forget to check out Davi’s video!

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