27 September 2010

Our orangutans in baby school come on in leaps and bounds!

New volunteer Carolynn from Seattle updates us on the young orangutans at our centre in Ketapang.

Since arriving at our centre in Ketapang last week, Karmila has been active and ever curious about the world around her. Despite her skinny little arms and legs, she has been climbing and exploring almost constantly when not eating or sleeping. It didn’t take her long to get used to drinking milk and eating more nutrient-rich foods and she shrieks with excitement when she sees her food on the way. Karmila loves the companionship of others and she uses her firm grip to keep herself wrapped around her caregiver’s neck. She also loves chewing leaves, tugging on branches, or snuggling up with her cozy soft teddy bear.

Pedro, now almost six months old, is as sociable and sweet as can be. He is always happier when surrounded by others. When not in the arms of his caretaker, Pedro spends lots of time with his buddy Paolo. Pedro loves to take naps sprawled out on his caretaker’s lap, but for some reason tends to pull and pick at the hair on top of his head. We hope that this behaviour will lessen as he gets older and interacts more with other orangutans.

Thankfully Paolo, now six months old, has made a full recovery from malaria. His grip is strong for climbing and hanging, and he enjoys practising with the older orangutans in baby school. Paolo also doesn’t mind playing and climbing on the infant playpen by himself or with his buddy Pedro. He also loves eating and sleeping and now weighs 5kg! He can drink 100ml of milk in 60 seconds and he has a big belly and small cheek pads on his face... I think it’s almost time to put him on a diet!

Sindi is a great leader in baby school. We want to encourage the baby orangutans to climb as much as possible, and no one sets a better example than Sindi. She is very independent and has taught herself how to climb high up in the trees. Sometimes she surprises her keepers by sneaking up on them and plopping down onto the ground from the trees. There is never a dull moment when Sindi is near!

Ujang is a very sweet and gentle orangutan from our baby school, but he is still having some trouble learning to climb. He didn’t get enough calcium during his first year of life, so his bones didn’t grow as strong and thick as they should be. He gets around just fine by crawling on the ground, but we try to encourage him to climb by hiding snacks in the trees and playing with him on elevated platforms.

Monti has become quite the climber in baby school, and makes friends with new volunteers quite quickly.

She is far from the oldest in our group, but Monti has the thickest and shiniest coat of hair in the bunch. She never minds modelling for the many pictures we take of her!

Melky is a very confident young orangutan, and like any young male, he enjoys testing boundaries at every opportunity.

He is very clever, and is always one of the first to discover new enrichment items and hidden snacks.

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