At now seven years old, Mema is in the sub-adult development phase. This stage of her life comes with quite a few changes as she grows and matures. Find out how they manifest themselves in Mema’s appearance and behaviour.
It started last November when, during a routine check-up on Mema, our medical team found that her lower primary teeth had fallen out. However, the surrogate mothers said they had not noticed any changes in her diet. Mema was still able to bite fruit – and even wood! Not long after this, her adult teeth started to come in.
Mema loves exploring
In Forest School, Mema will actively explore right after finishing the fruit and vegetable breakfast provided by the surrogate mothers at the feeding platform. Once she finishes eating, Mema loves to disappear quickly into the thick forest canopy. From time to time, the surrogate mothers have seen Mema playing with Tuti, a young, wild orangutan who often visits the Forest School Group 3 area. These interactions with Tuti benefit Mema’s social development, as they provide her with opportunities to learn and mimic behaviours from a wild orangutan.
When she is satisfied with her adventures, Mema will rest on a thick, comfortable pile of leaves before returning to the complex.
More independent and interested
At seven years old, Mema is in the sub-adult phase of development. Amongst the Group 3 students, Mema and Kristina are the largest and oldest. As with wild sub-adult orangutans, Mema is becoming more independent. She is drifting away from her surrogate mothers and will only approach them if she feels uncomfortable about something.
At this development stage, orangutans start building an interest in the opposite sex by approaching and observing other individuals. Mema is showing signs of this interest and has confidently started approaching young male orangutans in her group. However, none of the males from Group 3 are going through the same stage as her.
Mema is ready to move up
After assessing Mema’s excellent behaviours and skills, the surrogate mothers and animal welfare team decided to promote Mema and Kristina to Group 4. Here, Mema joined six other orangutans her age and older.
We are confident that Mema will learn many new skills and pick up more natural behaviours in her new group. Way to go, Mema!