Observing Yayang and her two children

BOS Foundation: August 20, 2015

Last Sunday, we focused our efforts on nest-to-nest observations of Yayang and her new baby. (Read the full story here: http://theforestforever.com/breaking-news-yayang-has-given-birth-to-a-new-baby/). Yayang’s second birth was very special as this newborn is our first wild born orangutan in the Kehje Sewen forest. Yayang herself was released into Kehje Sewen forest in December 2013 together with her first child, Sayang.

Nest-to-nest observations are conducted so we can record in-depth information on a particular individual. To ensure we capture the orangutans activities from the moment he or she awakes, we need to leave Camp Lesik at dawn in order to search for the individuals night nest, then follow and record all his/her movements and activities at two minute intervals up until he/she constructs their new nest at dusk. We usually conduct nest-to-nest surveys for several days although in some particular cases we might continue for weeks.

At 4.30 am, it was still dark and the team comprised of Usup and Rusda, departed from Camp Lesik. Following a feeding trail from the previous day’s observations, they tried to find Yayang’s newest nest. However, to reach that particular location, they had to hike up a 45 degree slope; not an east feat in the dark.

Yayang and her baby were seen leaving their nest at six in the morning and the team also recorded that Sayang, Yayang’s first child, was with them and had apparently slept close by. Data recording commenced in earnest.

Yayang and her new offspring

During the day, Yayang carefully holding her baby, frequently descended from the trees to eat Zingiberaceae shoots and during the day all three of them including Sayang, slowly moved away from the main track.

Sayang showed her irritation at our team’s presence by frequently producing kiss-squeaks and throwing twigs and branches at them.

Sayang always keeps a close distance with Yayang and her new sibling, tries to protect them from our observation

By the afternoon, rain started to pour down, but this did not deter our team from their observations. They had to make sure that the orangutans built their nests before they left them, to enable them to start at the right place the next day. Around 5.30 pm, Yayang started to construct her nest to shelter herself and her baby from the pouring rain. In the meantime, Sayang was seen building her own, indicating that she is now independent from her mother, Yayang who has her new child to take care of.

After the team saw that Yayang and her children safe and sound in their nests, they headed back to Camp Lesik.

Yayang, Sayang and the little baby

Mona Visits the Camp!

Meanwhile, the Lembu river phenology survey team reported that they had met Mona near to their camp. Mona arrived at camp at six in the morning, but then left shortly afterwards. Mona was alone this time. This was different from the last observation when she was seen together with Juminten (read the full story here: A Reunion with Mona and Juminten – http://theforestforever.com/a-reunion-with-mona-and-juminten/)

Based on our observations, Mona looked healthy and was actively moving through the trees.

Mona in the dark (image over exposed)

In summary, we are delighted with our observations this week. Yayang and her two children look very healthy and seeing Sayang build her own nest and showing some closeness to her young sibling is great news. And seeing Mona was also a great result. This beautiful female orangutan seemed healthy and was actively moving from one tree to another.

Nest-to-nest observations are indeed really hard work; starting very early in the morning for a full days monitoring and searching for nests in the dark, but those challenges don’t deter us. Our goal is to observe every orangutan that we have released in the Kehje Sewen forest. They are just too priceless.

Text by: PRM Team at Camp Lesik, Kehje Sewen Forest

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