The Sepilok Blog - Good progress for the youngsters

Goman Peeking

The new year has started well at Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre. There have been some notable changes recently in the abilities of some of the younger orangutans which is great to see. Goman (left) has been showing good progress, he is spending more time away from the training area and has been seen venturing over to the main feeding platforms where the older, semi-wild orangutans come to feed. He has taken a liking to Lulu in particular who is a young wild female and he often follows her to the platform.

Bored Bidu Bidu

Bidu-Bidu (pictured right) has been gaining in confidence and is also exploring further afield. He is becoming very good at foraging and is happy on his own in the trees finding leaves to eat; even when there is plenty of fruit available on the platforms. On one occasion he showed off some brilliant nest building skills and how to use leaves to shelter from the rain. However, boredom soon took over and he gave up on his nest and leaf umbrella and just went and got wet… perhaps he still needs a little time to perfect these skills after all!

Wild mother Bellaluna has been taking her baby named Luna-Mai to the Outdoor Nursery Area. She seems to be doing this to give her baby the opportunity to play with the other youngsters there. She gets on particularly well with the little orphan named Sepilok. Sepilok is usually quite a feisty character but he plays very gently with Luna-Mai making sure he doesn’t hurt her.

Mimis Baby

Mimi’s baby has been starting to practice his climbing and is doing well. She lifts him onto the ropes to practice but always keeps one hand up to make sure he doesn’t fall off. Five year old Awantang has been interested in the baby and his new found independence and Mimi allows her to interact with him, even stroking his face. Sometimes Awantang follows Mimi and the baby and then her mum Clenan has to rush after her when she realizes she isn’t coming back to her!

Awantang Long Bean

Awantang really varies in her confidence, some days she is very brave and happy to climb by herself but on other days she is very timid and still desperate to hold onto mum. However, she is definitely learning lots of skills from her mum Clenan and once she gains in confidence she will be well prepared for an independent life on her own one day. Baby orangutans can spend up to six or seven years with their mothers so she is getting there in her own time and it is not unusual for a five year old orangutan to still need the comfort of their mum.

This just goes to show how important the work of Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre is for the baby orangutans who are left orphaned. They have so much to be taught by the human carers and the other orangutans at the centre and it can take many years before they are ready to be fully independent. It is great to see them all progressing on their own rehabilitation journeys, each in their own unique ways.

Let’s see what the rest of 2019 has in store for all of these youngsters and their increasing independence.