Orangutan mother and teacher Signe

An overcast sky provided the perfect atmosphere for a relaxing afternoon at Camp Nles Mamse. While resting in a swaying hammock, I read a book and enjoyed the cool air as it gently breezed through the thin cloth of my shirt.

Suddenly, I heard a voice calling me, “Lun! Lun!” It was Mbak Sri, the mainstay cook of the southern camp, looking up into the trees. Signe and her baby were sitting on a tree branch directly in front of our camp! I immediately grabbed a camera to capture the moment. After snapping a few photos of the two, I stopped to observe their actions.

Signe was busily showing her baby how to forage as she carefully picked the young leaves around her. Her behaviour was immediately imitated by her baby, who also started twisting off young leaves from branches. The baby foraged for nearby leaves using one hand while holding on tightly to mother Signe’s body with the other. Now and then, they stopped and rested before going straight back to plucking the young leaves all around them.


Mum Signe teaches her baby how to forage for food in the trees.

For nearly two hours, the pair foraged quietly on a branch. Signe then moved to leave the location, brachiating carefully from branch to branch while her baby clung to her body. The faster Signe swung, the tighter the baby held on to her. 

It was incredible to see Signe in action, teaching her offspring how to forage while keeping them safe in her arms at all times. What a wonderful mother!

Text by: Aluna Sagita Nainggolan, PRM Team member from Camp Nles Mamse, Kehje Sewen Forest, East Kalimantan

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