Lesly, the Forest School Drama Queen


Forest School is a place where our young orangutans learn and study. As commonly found in human schools, some students are fast learners while others need a little more time.  We also find students with different temperaments; some are independent and confident whilst others need more attention and encouragement. Similar is the situation at the Orangutan Forest School in Samboja Lestari with the young orangutans all displaying individual traits. Of all these students Lesly stands out as the smart one who loves attention.

On a regular day Lesly can be found displaying what we would consider as normal orangutan behavior.  She loves to play, climb trees, and occasionally build a nest even though she is still learning the complexities of nest building.

However, her personality changes dramatically when she spots a newcomer, especially someone she has not met before like one of our vets or a new technician.  She tends to sneak closer to that individual and solicit affection and attention.  She just loves the closeness of having a new person around.

Poor little Lesly suffered a severe hand injury recently from a sharp wooden stick and required medical attention. The wound healed after a few days of care and Lesly went back to school under tighter supervision. Even though Lesly was better her behavior was so sweet to observe.  Everytime one of our medical team or a technician looked away, Lesly would act completely normally. But whenever she noticed them looking at her, Lesly pretended as if she was still in pain and stopped using her previously injured arm. Sometimes, she would even reach out for treatment.

This adorable attention seeking behavior has earned her the title of “our Little Drama Queen” by the staff and technicians who look after our Forest School students.  She always has something funny to entertain us with.

The individual and unique behavior of the young orangutans is one of the main reasons we love working with them so much and continue to teach them so that one day they will be able to survive in a real Bornean jungle.

By : Ardy-Communication Staff Samboja Lestari

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There are lots of ways you can support orangutans and help ensure the survival of this precious ape.

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Orangutans are endangered and at risk of extinction. Habitat destruction results in hundreds of orphaned orangutans, who rely on our care every year. You can help by adopting one. Their dedicated ‘nannies’ teach them everything they need to know for when it’s time to release them back to the wild. You can follow their progress through Forest School.

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