Post Release Monitoring Project 2014 update

Mico New Pic Fom Nl27 Two

So the biggest news since I last wrote to you all is that Mico is a new addition to our Tabin family!

He came to us on April 2nd and within just two days he had found Eyos to range with. This was exactly what we were hoping for as orangutans are so adept at one-to-one learning due to the long dependency periods (six-eight years) that they spend with their mothers.

Their relationship lasted just one week before Mico’s overenthusiastic foraging stirred a swarm of bees into action, and, in the ensuing melee both he and Eyos (and the rest of us!) ran off in different directions to escape. Mico wasn’t alone for long though, and within a few days he had found Anekara.

They then spent about ten days ranging around together only to be split up by the huge, locally dominant flanged male! Anekara had followed the sound of a long call and with Mico sticking to her like glue she soon came into visual contact with the local boss. As is expected in situations like this, Mico, as the much smaller and younger male, didn’t want to be too close with the big guy so rather than continuing his dogged pursuit of Anekara, he instead ran off into the warm embrace of nearby Hope once again!

When following our females, Mico doesn’t like to be much more than about ten metres behind them wherever they go. Right now he’s a big softie, and if he loses sight of whoever he’s with at that time, he’ll often whimper until he manages to find them again! Since his release he has probably spent no more than ten days ranging alone. This has really been

great for Mico as he has been able to watch and learn from each of our girls to see 1) what they are eating; 2) where they are getting their food from; and 3) how he should behave in Tabin.

Mico’s diet is already so much more varied and colourful compared with the other males we have released previously. On a personal level, another reason why we think it is good that Mico has been spending so much time with our girls, is because when travelling alone he’s ventured up to four hours away by hard trekking!!! Thankfully our girls have all established relatively small home ranges either within or not too far from our trail system! Phew! That means a lot less sweating for us, at least for now!

Mico has of course also made the most of his one-on-one time and the romantic opportunities with our girls! Like a typical male, he seems to lose interest in whoever he is with after a couple of weeks before deciding to divert his attentions to the next lucky lady!

So not only do our other orangutans have a good influence on Mico’s foraging levels and diet, but they also seem to help keep him within the reach of the post release monitoring team. Because of this, we’re all hoping that he’ll stay interested in our females and hang around for much longer at the release site!

I myself and the boys in Tabin are all happy and healthy too! After almost five years in the forest I still think it’s our privilege to be able to share our lives with these beautiful animals in their natural environment, exactly where they should be!

Thorough post release monitoring is so important to find out what really happens to these guys and how well they adapt, yet it wouldn’t be possible at all without all of our generous supporters, so for that I thank you all for supporting the Appeal and all of us in what we are trying to achieve.