Post Release Monitoring Project Update

Anekara & Daniel

It is imperative to ensure the orangutans are successfully adapting after their reintroduction into the wild. Without constant tracking and collecting this data it is unknown whether the rehabilitation process has been successful and whether they will survive without further support, as no prior research has been undertaken. 

It is ultimately anticipated that this research will contribute to improving the survival prospects of all reintroduced Great Apes in Africa and Asia.  The PRMP project has the potential to improve the pre-release rehabilitation protocols in use both in Malaysia and Indonesia, by creating a blueprint for rehabilitating and releasing orphaned apes. This will be achieved by daily tracking of orangutans fitted with implanted radio telemetry (IRT) and monitoring and recording their behavioural patterns. 

We are delighted to provide you with this latest update from our primatologist:

 

Over the last few months we’ve been travelling all over Sabah, delivering environmental education to schools, including two of our staff’s home villages. For me it was excellent to see my staff going back to the schools where they were previously students many years ago, to speak about working with OAUK and the orangutans. Hopefully the children felt especially inspired, seeing what past students had been able to achieve, and knowing that they were making a valuable contribution to the conservation of these amazing apes, and who knows, maybe in a few years time we’ll be giving jobs to some of them too!

The Post Release Monitoring Project has had a fantastic year in Tabin. Both Hope and Anekara joined Otan and Eyos in giving birth to babies – our third and fourth on the project! Considering that we have only released four females, this equates to 100% birth rate meaning that we are doing the right things for the orangs, and that is really important.

Hope had her little girl Doris, in late spring, and Anekara had her little boy Daniel, in June. The behaviour of all our mothers from before and after giving birth was fascinating to watch. All of them were spending
a lot more time foraging during their pregnancy, and especially in the final couple of months. We believe now that it is not just the fact that they were eating for two, but they did this because after giving birth all they wanted to do was groom and play with their new babies – so it was obviously important for them to stock up on food before the baby arrived! For several weeks after giving birth they spent hours and hours each day just playing and inspecting their babies. It was really great to see, as they all needed to get their strength back, as well as bond with their infants!

For us watching this unfold, the most important moment was to see the baby feeding for the first time. Once this happens we can breathe a huge sigh of relief! Sometimes feeding can be troublesome – either the mother doesn’t know what to do when the baby cries, or she may not produce enough milk, or she just doesn’t like it when the baby is feeding, you can never be 100% sure that everything will be ok until you see it with your own eyes. I hope you have seen the photos and videos of Doris and Daniel, and can see they are both doing well and following in the footsteps of Spike and Camelia, our first two babies. We’re still following Mico our male we released a while ago, who has made incredible progress and has adapted well to life in the forest. He’s still swinging by camp every once in a while on his way through to some of his favourite trees. I suspect that he also comes by on occasion to see if he can raid anything from our supplies, but we’re always there to guard it so he never has any luck!

We haven’t been following either Eyos or Otan as much in the last few months as it is time to leave them to cope with everyday living in the forest. They’ve been doing so well with us for the past two years that we are now winding down their tracking, as both of them have little toddlers to look after. The last few times have we have been looking for Eyos she was diffi cult to fi nd, as both Eyos and her youngster Camelia move so fast through the forest. Camelia is amazing – she is growing fast and is learning well from her mum on what wild fruits she can eat which is excellent. Well, I really don’t envy Otan because Spike is two and half years old now and a massive ball of energy!!!! He is becoming more and more adventurous and doesn’t hesitate to move away from mum to explore on his own! Of course we will still be keeping our eye on them and record sightings as we travel through the forest.

 

You can read our some of our previous PRMP project updates by clicking on the links below:

October 2015

January 2015

February 2013

The Post Release Monitoring Project is one of the many projects we run to support orangutan conservation.  If you would like to support this and other projects that we run, you can donate to the charity by visting our donation page