The secret to Fani’s beautiful hair

When you are experiencing a bad hair day, it’s easy to get hair envy. Just don’t look in Fani’s direction when you do, as this 21-year-old female orangutan has the loveliest locks in all the land. Well, at least among the residents of Samboja Lestari’s pre-release island #5, in East Kalimantan. Fani, who was kept in captivity in Jakarta prior to coming to our Samboja Lestari Rehabilitation Centre, has hair so beautiful it looks as though she has just walked out of a salon.

Fani’s flowing, lustrous hair is actually the result of her long hours spent up in the canopy. Our technicians say that unlike other orangutans on the island, Fani rarely comes down to the ground. Instead, she moves from one tree branch to another, and in doing so avoids the mud and dirt on the forest floor. Swinging through the trees also allows the thin branches and sticks to naturally comb through her hair, adding to her groomed appearance. Kikan, who also lives on Island #5, has started following in Fani’s footsteps, and is now spending more time off the ground.

Despite her mature age, Fani is yet to meet the requirements to be released to the wild, as she has failed to master a number of survival skills, including nest-building and foraging. These shortcomings in natural skills and behaviours are due to the long period of time she spent in captivity prior to her rescue. However, the fact that Fani is now able to live on a pre-release island, albeit with the help and supervision of technicians, is quite an improvement.

Fani currently shares Island #5 with Romeo and Kikan and is the most dominant individual of the three; just as she was during her time in the socialisation complex, prior to moving to the island. Even Romeo, despite being male, is very cautious when approaching Fani, as she has been known to prove her dominance through attack if provoked.

These days, Fani is rarely seen at the feeding platform awaiting food delivery. More often than not, she is busy exploring the island, and as an agile individual appears to be really enjoying the freedom of movement in the open space.

 

Fani, we are in awe of your stunning hairdo – and quite frankly, also a little jealous!

 

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