Naru Makes it In the Wild - Update on Naru, Rosalinda and Anekara


It has been 8 months since Naru, Rosalinda and Anekara took their final steps along the rehabilitation program at Sepilok, and were released into the rainforest reserve surrounding the centre. In this time all three have made great progress and have continued to expand their skills by watching and learning from the older orangutans already living independently in the reserve.

Since their release the Appeal has provided a tracking team to monitor the three and ensure a smooth re-introduction. At the end of 2007 the team reported that Rosalinda and Anekara were being intimidated by some of the older and more dominant females at the feeding area. The decision was made to provide food for them at a platform further into the forest and the team helped assemble a rope system to connect the outdoor nursery with two different platforms. The ropes help to guide and encourage the youngsters to travel to these new areas and further into the forest. Moving the feeding area proved to be a great success and the two girls’ confidence, especially Rosalinda’s, has increased considerably.


After his fall last year Naru’s confidence in climbing was shaken, and for a while he tended to hang around the outdoor nursery area, but he has now recovered his head for heights. He is still best friends with his nursery pal Rosalinda. The two pals are never far apart and will have long play sessions together in the trees. He has also made friends with a young male Angkung and the boys are often play fighting!

At the beginning of April the tracking team noticed Naru was looking unwell so they took him back to the clinic. Naru indeed had flu, but after a course of antibiotics he was fit, healthy and more than ready to rejoin his friends!

Naru’s climbing abilities have continued to improve and he has been seen foraging for his own food in the forest. Even so, Naru loves his milk and bananas and will regularly make his way to the feeding platforms in the forest. Although he is sometimes scared off by the bigger orangutans, and is especially wary of resident mum Mimi, Naru will even venture to the tourist platform on his own with the promise of a free snack at the other end!

Naru is easily distracted and his enquisitive nature means that he was in his element when a Danish Film Crew arrived at the centre, and wanted nothing more than to star in front of the camera! Then when Rosalinda ventured off into the forest by herself for few days, Naru turned his more amorous attention to another female Ganang!

Naru does not yet make a nest to sleep in at night. He is fascinated by Britt, an older female, who is an ardent nest builder, and will spend long periods closely watching her; so it is hoped Naru will soon master the skill for himself.


Rosalinda at new feeding platformRosalinda is also a very playful young orangutan. Her climbing skills have improved greatly and she frequently visits the new platforms, spending a long time playing in the trees. Often she is accompanied by Naru, but it is Rosalinda who usually initiates the climbing. If a larger orangutan passes by she will keep out of their way and hides herself in a patch of dense foliage until the coast is clear!

Rosalinda is starting to interact well with some of the smaller orangutans, such as the well known trouble maker Angkung and his friend Mico, and will join them in a play session. She also enjoys her own company and will venture off into the forest, not being seen till late in the day.

Rosalinda does not always make it to the daily feeding sessions at Platform A as she is still scared by the larger orangutans. Even if she flees, with the team providing food at the other platforms, Rosalinda is guaranteed her meal. Rosalinda is beginning to find her own food in the forest, and she has been seen eating young leaves and flowers, which shows she is making excellent progress.

Rosalinda is yet to build a nest for herself at night, though she will often move into one Britt has discarded, and is quite often joined by Naru!


Anekara has proved to be a very strong individual. She is an excellent climber, and is competent at making nests and finding food for herself in the reserve. She stays away from the release site for long periods and no longer returns to the outdoor nursery every night.

Out of the three, Anekara is the most advanced. Showing signs of living independently she infrequently eats at the nursery area and so is finding enough food for herself from the wild. Even so, Anekara is still wary of some of the larger orangutans, and will not venture to platform A if there are any blocking her path. She appears to be frightened of two of the older females in particular, Eyos and Mariko, and will steer clear of them. She does socialise with the other orangutans and has made a good friend in one of the male orangutan’s called Tiger, who she is obviously learning a lot from.

In May the trackers noted that Anekara seemed unwell and took her to the clinic for a full check up. It was found that Anekara had a fungal infection, which was easily treated; and she was immediately back out climbing the trees and interacting well with the other orangutans.

The tracking team will continue to monitor the three until the centre is confident that they are well established in the reserve, capable of finding their own food and making nests to sleep in at night. The team will be kept very busy as the next release is also imminent.