Orangutans and humans are eerily similar. They share 97 per cent of the same DNA, have unique fingerprints, rely on multi-colour and binocular vision, are pregnant for nine months, curious, playful – and form close social bonds with other individuals. The relationship between Rambo and Uwai, from the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Central Kalimantan, illustrates the later perfectly.
Rambo and Uwai came to Nyaru Menteng in June 2019, they were both around one-year-old at the time. After a period of quarantine, due to their tender age, they joined the Nursery Group. Here is where the youngsters began their long rehabilitation process of learning and developing natural skills and behaviours, to helping them prepare for a future release to the wild.
Despite being smaller than Rambo, Uwai often led the way, with Rambo following close behind. Whatever Uwai did in Forest School – climbing the low-hanging branches and ropes or exploring the Forest School area designated for the nursery students – Rambo would always be with him. Uwai did not seem bothered by this but rather accepted Rambo’s company.
Today, about one year later, Uwai and Rambo have made remarkable progress. Uwai has gained a significant amount of weight and is now a similar size to Rambo. They still frequently drink milk and sleep together; however, Rambo is beginning to distance himself from Uwai on occasion to learn on his own.
We know that every step Rambo, Uwai and the other orangutans take in the rehabilitation process strengthens the abilities that they one day need to thrive and survive in the forest. Keep it up, guys! We will continue following you on your way to freedom.