Drum Roll, Please! We are happy to announce the 5th natural birth among released orangutans in the Kehje Sewen Forest and the 21st wild-born baby across all release sites. Female orangutan Signe, released to the forest in 2016, became a mum again!
Signe arrived at Samboja Lestari on 1 February 2009 when she was just two years old. She underwent rehabilitation at Forest School and gave birth to her first infant, a male named Bungaran, on 5 April 2015.
Our Post-Release Monitoring (PRM) team made this wonderful discovery earlier this month. The team from Camp Nles Mamse, in the southern part of the Kehje Sewen Forest, East Kalimantan, was preparing for a day of patrolling and observing orangutans in the forest. On the way to Transect 19, the technicians stopped to check the 4×4 vehicle they were travelling in, as it appeared to be having some trouble. Suddenly, they spotted an orangutan moving from the direction of Transect 10, not far from where they had stopped.
After taking some photos of the orangutan in question, the team was able to identify her as Signe. She was busily moving in the canopy and foraging. After a while, she climbed down to the forest floor in search of more food sources. As our team members inched closer, they were suddenly taken by surprise. Signe, who last year had started to separate from her son, Bungaran, was carrying a baby.
Our team was delighted to see Signe with a baby and excited to observe the mother-infant pair. During observations, the new mother diligently foraged for food, keeping herself in optimum condition for breastfeeding. She was seen eating some “jabon” (burflower tree/Anthocephalus chinensis) fruit.
The technicians kept a visual on Signe and her baby until the day started to turn dark. Then, Signe moved quickly down the slope of the valley and disappeared. Unable to catch up with her, the PRM team made plans to prioritise her on the next patrol, to collect data on her progress and that of her baby, whose sex still has to be determined.
We are overjoyed at having discovered Signe with a baby, as this is the purpose of our orangutan and habitat conservation effort: to help orangutans create a new, wild generation in the forest.