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THE BIG CHEEK-PADDER WITH AN EVEN BIGGER CURIOSITY!

Orangutans are incredibly intelligent and have phenomenal memories. They can remember past travel routes through trees as well as the contours of the terrain. As a result, it’s not surprising that our Post-Release Monitoring (PRM) team in the Kehje Sewen Forest knows where to find specific rehabilitated orangutans. However, on rare occasions, we will go months, or even years, without spotting certain individuals.

Our PRM team at Camp Nles Mamse woke up to gloomy skies looming over the camp. To the west of the camp an old, non-functional car sits undisturbed, day in and day out, weathering down in the tropical humidly. Usually, a common sight for the team, the technicians were shocked to see an orangutan with cheek pads suddenly poke his head out the car door.

Our startled PRM team carefully examined the orangutan and identified him as Agus. This male orangutan was last spotted in 2022 when he was relocated to the north side of Camp Nles Mamse. Agus, who had not been seen in a long time, was an unexpected sight for our team and was now analysing our out-of-commission vehicle with a fierce intensity. 

Orangutans are also highly curious beings, as illustrated by Agus sitting inside the old car and examining everything held within. The old car didn’t have door locks, so it is no surprise that Agus was able to enter the vehicle early in the morning before the team had woken up.

Agus didn’t do much but sit inside the car and stare at the camp from a distance. He did not act aggressively or damage the old automobile. As other PRM team members awoke with the sunrise, Agus opted to return to the forest, probably to seek food to satisfy his hunger since he had already satisfied his curiosity! 

Text by: PRM Team at Camp Nles Mamse, Kehje Sewen Forest, East Kalimantan

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

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