In May 2022, a new arrival came to our ORANGUTAN FOREST SCHOOL. A baby orangutan was confiscated from a local family by the Forestry Department and safely brought into our care. The family kept the poor baby as a pet – trapped in a small cage for 24/7 and, despite the very young age, forced to drink milk from a bowl, just like a dog or cat.
When the young female arrived at our Forest School, our caregivers slowly adjusted her to drinking from a bottle or glass. She was responsive but her abdomen was tense and bloat in the upper area; she was lacking in drink and low fiber diet. Apart from that, she had no wounds and her motor skills were fine. The baby orangutan, who, as our vet estimated, was around one and a half years old when she was rescued, was named Juno Marlina. Juno is the name of the general´s grandson who helped founding Jejak Pulang, and Marlina is a famous Indonesian pioneer for alternative education for indigenous people.
Like all the other orangutans, Juno Marlina spent her first weeks in the Forest School quarantine, where she was nursed for 24 hours and closely monitored by our caregivers. The young orangutan settled in well. She curiously explored her surroundings and especially loved staring up at the forest canopy – then our caregivers could see a sparkling glance in her eyes! Our team also noticed that Juno Marlina already has some forest skills, like nest building. She must have learnt them from her mother.
Juno meets the other orangutans
In August, after her quarantine period, Juno Marlina was introduced to some of the other orangutans. When she met Indra, little Juno showed confidence, starting to play, curiously following him in the canopy and watching him eating forest fruits. She even tried to steal some food from Indra's mouth!
The second orangutan Juno met was Bhima. With him, Juno was more cautious and it took them some time to get familiar with each other. However, after some time, they started to play and enjoyed exploring the forest or sharing their food.
In October, the caregivers decided to introduce Juno Marlina to Cantik from level 3, who, as a very skilled orangutan, always acts as a role model for the young orangutans. Cantik was quite cautious at the beginning, observing Juno from distance and waiting for her to take action. Slowly they approached, and when they were close, they started to interact and get to know each other. They got closer and closer and ended up playing, climbing on trees together and sharing food mouth to mouth. Cantik again showed her maternal instinct, passing food to Juno like a mother or building a nest for the two of them. Both of them enjoyed their time together and especially for Juno, the interaction was a great chance to learn new skills and gain more confidence in the forest.
Update: Curiously learning and gaining confidence
Juno Marlina is doing well at the Forest School. She has gained some weight and is getting more skilled every day. It has become clear to the caregivers that Juno is very attentive and a good learner. For her young age she already shows great orangutan skills but still there is a long way to go for her to be able to survive by herself. With the help of our experienced caregivers, Juno will learn all the fundamental skills she needs to be independent and survive in the forest.