Big Ben is Feeling Right at Home in the Forest

Date Posted May 3, 2023
Text by: BOSF PRM Team at Camp Hiran, Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park, Central Kalimantan

One morning, the Post-Release Monitoring (PRM) team located in the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park, Central Kalimantan, set off at 5 a.m. to patrol in the forest. Team members Andri and Yardi had planned to patrol the Hiran watershed area along the Rangkong River. However, as they passed through Transect Diki, the two met Ben, an orangutan who was released in November 2022. Not far from Ben's location, they could see the nest he had built and slept in the night before.

Not wanting to waste this opportunity, Andri and Yardi stopped to observe Ben and record his behavioural data. Ben was resting on the branches of a kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra), eating its leaves. Several times, he let out some disapproving grunts.


During observations, Ben actively moved through the trees as he foraged and ate a lot of forest food. Evidently, he had crossed the Rangkong River via the branches. Before it the rain set in, Ben constructed a comfortable nest in the top of a ficus tree. Observations of Ben ended when the team was certain that he had settled into his nest for the night.

Ben's body condition score (BCS) indicates that he is in good health. His exploration of the forest and foraging activity clearly indicates that Ben has adjusted well to his new environment since his release. This is welcome news, indeed. We are hopeful that Ben will do his part to produce a new, wild orangutan population in the forests of Borneo.

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