Earlier this year, our Post-Release Monitoring (PRM) team from Camp Lesik in the Kehje Sewen Forest, East Kalimantan, was observing orangutans when male Hamzah suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Find out what happened next.

The PRM team set off on foot that day and headed toward the Mountain Belah area with plans to reach Transect Berlian. The team stopped at the Gunung Belah River to check for orangutans but could not find any.

On their journey, they first had to pass Transect Mobil Mogok, which, as the name suggests, is notorious for damaging vehicles (‘mobil mogok‘ means ‘car breakdown’). However, as the team negotiated Transect Mobil Mogok, movements could be seen in the trees off the transect. On their approach, the team found Theresa and her offspring Berani, and Sayang with her baby Padma nearby.

The PRM team had just started observing Berani when Hamzah suddenly appeared. The mothers and their children took no chances and immediately decided it was time to exit quickly. But during their fast retreat from Hamzah, they also lost their human observers. The team tried to track down Berani but couldn’t find him again because Theresa had taken him up the steep slope to escape the chaos.

After this, the team decided to head back to camp, but on the way found a young orangutan looking for food. This time, it was Ayu, the daughter of Lesan. The PRM team members started observing Ayu, who was near Transect Lung. However, they couldn’t watch her for long, as Ayu came down from the trees and quickly left the area with her mother. It was then that, again, Hamzah showed up. The team could not catch up with Ayu, as she had moved deep into the middle of the forest and away from the main transect.

The technicians waited a while to see if Ayu would show herself again. However, they ultimately had to give up and head back to camp, disappointed. This time, it was not only our PRM team’s activities that were interrupted by Hamzah but also those of the three mother-infant pairs.

Hamzah certainly knows how to crash the party!

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