Earlier this year, our Post-Release Monitoring (PRM) team from Camp Lesik, in the northern part of the Kehje Sewen Forest, found Lesan in a weakened state. She looked frail, had a runny nose, and was coughing. Our veterinarian suspected that she was suffering from ORDS (Orangutan Respiratory Distress Syndrome). As it can be life-threatening, the vet team decided to evacuate Lesan and treat her illness.
They sedated Lesan and transported her to Camp Lesik, where we have a special enclosure to accommodate orangutans that need medical intervention. The first medical procedure the veterinarians performed on Lesan was a minor surgery to reduce the fluid that was blocking her respiratory tract. They successfully removed a lot of mucus, which explained her weak condition and bad cough.
Post-surgery, Lesan was being cared for around the clock and regularly given medication, mixed among her meal of forest fruits and leaves for easier consumption
Ever since her arrival at camp, Lesan had a regular visitor: Hamzah, a male orangutan. Hamzah’s loyalty had led him to the camp several days in a row, to spend time near Lesan’s enclosure. In fact, Hamzah had even built his night nests near the camp to stay close to his friend.
Due to Lesan’s position in the treatment enclosure, the PRM team members closely monitored Hamzah when he first arrived. They were pleased to find that Hamzah’s presence appeared to be comforting to Lesan. The two were interacting and touching each other, despite being separated by the enclosure bars. They have known each other for a long time, since their release to the Kehje Sewen Forest in 2012.
We love the way Hamzah supported his old friend. We humans could learn a thing or two from orangutans!