In early May, when the owner of a gas station noticed a moving sack tied to the back of a clients motorbike in Bengalon, Borneo, he knew something was not right. Inside the sack was a little orangutan orphan, scared and confused. The client explained that he was taking the little orangutan to abandon in the rainforest, where for certain the young infant would have met a certain death. With much compassion, the gas station owner convinced the client to hand the infant over to him, where he sought out the best solution for the orangutan's survival. The Indonesian Wildlife Authority BKSDA were able to intervene, and contacted FOUR PAWS for assistance.
He was rescued 75 years to the day after the allied victory in WWII, and so when the little orangutan arrived at the ORANGUTAN FOREST SCHOOL, the team named him Damai, meaning peace in Indonesian. The infant is just two years old and has already suffered trauma during his short life. Within his first few days at the ORANGUTAN FOREST SCHOOL, located in Samboja, East Kalimantan, he bonded quickly to his surrogate foster mother, and the team have been very pleased to see him relax and settle quickly at the Forest School. For the next 60 days, the orphan will remain in the Forest School quarantine, being closely monitored by the team and undergoing a series of health checks before being allowed to interact with the other 8 orphan orangutans at the school.
During times of COVID-19, the caregivers at the school are taking extra precautions to ensure that the orangutans are not put at risk of contracting the virus.
Orangutan Damai arrived at the ORANGUTAN FOREST SCHOOL after he was rescued from being trapped in a bag hanging from a motorcycle. He was saved in the last second! Damai's process has been very positive, he is gaining a lot of confidence day by day and progressively improving in his orangutan skills. At the end of the video you can see what his favourite gameat ORANGUTAN FOREST SCHOOL is right now.
Playful Damai loves twirling
Damai is a real character — he loves to eat bamboo pith, melons, and bananas, but absolutely hates vegetables! He enjoys playing with his orangutan friends Indra and Lestari, and he’s always exploring and creating fun games in the forest. This game of twirling and falling kept him occupied for quite a while!
Damai is now 6.6 kg and has already gained 1.8 kg since arriving at the ORANGUTAN FOREST SCHOOL, this is down to being fed a high-nutrient and species-appropriate diet since arriving. He still really enjoys mealtime and finding snacks in the forest, especially the bamboo pith, pandanus pith and ficus fruits. Every day, he is now venturing into the baby school in the forest and bravely climbing trees and exploring the undergrowth with his dedicated caregiver Ipeh. The two already extremely bonded, which was expected due to his young age of just two years. Orangutans are usually very dependent of their mothers until the age of 6-8 years old when they start to learn independent skills but now he will be reliant on the guidance of his surrogate mother for some time to develop adult survival skills.
Time to heal
With the antibiotic treatment, Damai’s infection in his skin has drastically improved and our specialist vets expect this to clear up in the next week, despite this, he is in good health considering being abandoned. It is still some time before Damai will be introduced with the other orangutans, this is to ensure that there is no possible chance he can spread any diseases to the others. But for now, we are pretty sure Damai is really enjoying himself.
Damai is gaining strength
Since arriving at our ORANGUTAN FOREST SCHOOL, Damai has gone from strength to strength! He is an active young boy and loves to explore the forest, under to close eye of his dedicated caregivers. Last week, the caregivers noticed some folliculitis on his ankle, an infection at the root of his hairs. The specialised wild animal vet is treating Damai daily with antibiotic balm, hoping that this infection doesn’t spread. Despite this, he is a happy little ape, who loves to climb the trees. He will remain in quarantine for some time longer before he can be introduced to the other orangutans at the Forest School.
Exploring his new home
Damai is getting used to forest food but does not seem to like vegetables yet! The caregivers have already observed he has good climbing skills and is getting more confident every day. Within the safety of the quarantine area at the Forest School, he can already climb quite high and gets a lot of enjoyment from this natural ability. He comes back down to his caregiver when he is hungry or thirsty, which is a good indicator that he's already quite trusting of the team.