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THE TALE OF SUCI’S RESILIENCE

Our Post-Release Monitoring (PRM) team at Camp Himba Pambelum in Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park (TNBBBR), Central Kalimantan, encountered Suci, a young female orangutan, three times back in 2023. This healthy orangutan was spotted enjoying her days in the Rangan Nongai area. These encounters brought good news, as Suci, who had been released in 2021, had not been seen by the team for over a year. Their encounter with her not only revealed that Suci was physically healthy, it also indicated that she was able to successfully adjust to a wild life inside TNBBBR.

The team first encountered Suci on the 12th of May, when she was spotted eating wild ginger piths (Etlingera triorgyalis), the cambium beneath tree bark, wild figs (Ficus sp.), and termites. Suci, who is known for being sociable and sharing food with other orangutans, ate the buffet solo this time around. The observation began at 11 a.m. and concluded around 3 p.m., when a storm rolled in.

Three days later, our PRM team encountered Suci again, about 50 metres from the Hiran River. She was eating the leaves of a pilang tree (Vachellia leucophloea). This time observation went uninterrupted until 5 p.m. when Suci opted to build a nest in a wild fig tree some 15 metres away from her original spot.

Our PRM team saw Suci yet again two days later, this time a far distance away from where she had last been seen. The young orangutan spent the day feeding, starting with palm and Koompassia excelsa leaves and then continuing on to consume bamboo stalks. Next on the menu were termites out of a nest in some nearby decaying wood. Suci’s eating preferences demonstrated her ability to identify a variety of natural food sources.

After her solitary feast, Suci decided to cool herself off in the river and rinse her body with leaves. This action surprised the team as Suci showed delight in her newfound hobby that was now part of her daily life.

We were thrilled to witness Suci demonstrate her remarkable resilience in navigating daily life in her natural habitat. While we may be living in a changing world, orangutans, like Suci, will always be needed to help maintain the healthy ecological balance in their ecosystems.

PRM Team at Himba Pambelum Monitoring Camp, TNBBBR, Central Kalimantan

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