Every new orangutan birth in the Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest is greeted with immense excitement from the post-release monitoring (PRM) team from Totat Jalu Camp. This elated sentiment is not only limited to the humans of the forest, however, as some of the orangutan residents also show interest in the new, tiny babies. Of all the orangutans, it is a female named Olivia who is especially intrigued by the small, orange bundles of fur.
In February, we celebrated our first live birth of the year, after gentle Ebol gave birth to a healthy baby at the start of the month. Upon discovering the infant, the PRM team spent several days monitoring the new mother and her offspring. Over this time, Ebol was not alone, however, as Olivia showed up to investigate the baby. She repeatedly tried to approach Ebol, but the new mother was having none of it! Every time Olivia tried to come close, protective Ebol pulled the baby in and moved away.
The following month, Batikap was graced with yet another miracle; Meklies also gave birth to a healthy baby! The day after this discovery, Olivia showed up, again! This time she followed the new mother closely with her best friend, Manisha. Meklies, an ever-vigilant and protective new mother, tried to keep her distance from them and hide her new baby.
Poor Olivia seemed to be enamored by the tiny orangutans, but no mother would let her see their precious baby. It was at this time as well that our vet decided to conduct a pregnancy test for Manisha and learned that she was pregnant! Now, even Olivia’s best friend was expecting a baby!
Dreams Come True
Observations continued as normal for the month, with Olivia continuing to feed on her favorite foods by the river banks and often seen together with her friends Manisha and Cilik. One day, after feeding on some rattan, Olivia got up to move closer to a nearby lunuk tree to savor its sweet fruit. When she turned her back on the monitoring team, her swollen genitals became immediately obvious! An indicator pregnancy, this signaled that Olivia, too, would finally be having a baby of her own!
Olivia is currently still pregnant, and spends her days feeding with fellow mom-to-be, Manisha. The monitoring team is counting down the days until these two females welcome their babies to the forest and start new chapters in their lives! Both Manisha and Olivia will be first-time mothers, and we are confident they have the skills to raise healthy, wild orangutans.
Be sure to check back for the continuing chapter in this epic story, when the newest (and tiniest) additions arrive in the Bukit Batikap Protection Forest!
Text by: Andrea Knox, PRM Coordinator in Totat Jalu Camp, Bukit Batikap Protection Forest