Our Post-Release Monitoring (PRM) team was recently conducting a routine patrol in the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park, Central Kalimantan, when a strong signal was detected from Janu, a 9-year-old male released in February 2017. The team followed the signal and found Janu sitting atop a tree, busily eating ficus fruits. Blissfully unaware of the PRM team’s presence, he continued to slowly move around the trees and forage for forest food.
First Time Janu Laid Eyes on Miri
Janu went about his way, exploring the forest, then abruptly stopped in his tracks. His eyes suddenly fixed on a beautiful female orangutan in the branches nearby; about 20 meters from Janu, and eating in the trees, was Miri, who was released in December 2016.
Janu hesitated to move closer to Miri at first, but before long had worked up the courage to carefully approach her. He seemed to be fighting every ounce of doubt, and took slow, cautious movements toward her. It almost looked as though he was stalking prey.
Miri, meanwhile, did not budge. She offered little reaction to Janu’s presence, even after he had managed to get very close. Janu, perhaps interpreting this as acceptance, sat down beside Miri and joined her as she ate.
Before long, Miri turned her back on him to move off. She reached for a branch and brachiated away from Janu, heading across the Bemban River.
Janu refused to let her go that easily, and gave chase over the river. Miri made it clear that she did not want him to be near her, and Janu picked up on her cue by giving her some space. Miri then moved off deeper into the forest and Janu, and, feeling the rejection, disappeared behind the bushes in another direction.
The PRM team was eager to monitor the aftermath of this encounter, and rushed across the river to follow Janu’s weakening signal. For two hours the team tried in vain to track him down, but was unable to locate him. It was already late in the afternoon, and the PRM team decided to call it a day and head back to monitoring camp.
It’s a rare treat for our team to observe Janu – but as quickly as we located him, he was gone again! We are delighted to learn from our brief encounter, however, that he is looking healthy and strong, and at home in his new environment; a clear indicator of his successful adaptation to life in the wild.
With his amazing exploration and foraging skills, and his aversion to human presence, it is no wonder Janu has become one of the star residents of the forest. Although, he may still need to work on his advances toward the opposite sex!
Text by: Vivi Dwi Santi, Nyaru Menteng Veterinarian, TNBBBR Forest