The Sepilok Blog - Koko moves up to Forest School and other news

Purnama 2

It has been very hot and humid at Sepilok over the past couple of weeks. The humans are finding it sweltering but the orangutans seem fairly unfazed by the heat. They are well adapted to their environment after all. Interestingly though, it does seem to have brought more of the wild orangutans out of the surrounding Kabili Rainforest Reserve to eat at the feeding platforms. Perhaps this is so that they can avoid expending too much energy in the heat by foraging for their own food. It is interesting that these wild orangutans know that they can come to the centre for food if they need to but that under normal circumstances they choose not to.

Koko Edit

In other news, a young female orphan named Koko (pictured left) has graduated from the indoor nursery to the outdoor nursery, meaning that she can now take part in Forest School. She has settled in really well and is confident around the other orangutans. She has even been venturing out on the ropes into the forest already so it looks like she might become a star pupil, we will have to wait and see. Good luck Koko!

Alpha Male Macaque

Alagu, who moved up to Forest School last year, has been doing well and has been spending time with Koko since she moved up to join her there. She did an amazing job recently of frightening off three macaques by swinging on a rope to scare them, but unfortunately this backfired the next day when she attempted to do the same again and the macaque fought back. She has been a bit wary of macaques since then. She just needs to build her confidence of being around the other animals which she may encounter out in the rainforest and this will come with time.

Bidu And Mariko

Bidu-Bidu has been seen all over the place recently and is exploring further and further afield. His confidence has really increased lately and he is spending time at main feeding platforms with the older orangutans. One day Mariko allowed him to sit with her while she ate even though he kept getting very close to her face (pictured left). She was very patient though and didn't push him away. This is a behaviour known as 'peering' which has also been observed in other apes species too. It seems to be a way of youngsters learning about what their elders are eating and which foods are safe to eat. They also seem to do this in the hope that the older individual might share some with them. It is quite comical to watch because the older orangutan will often completely ignore the youngster even when they are staring intently at them from just a few inches away. Something which us humans would find very off putting!

The young orangutans have been given lots of enrichment recently and they are all loving it! Staff have made logs with holes filled with honey, bamboo filled with fruit, and leaf parcels with some peanut butter inside. They have also been given vine balls and they seem to squabble over who gets the biggest one. They always seem to want what the others have and don't really like to share!