Eating in Peace

Date Posted October 7, 2022
Text by: Dr. Nadine Adrianna Sugianto, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, working on the Orangutan Enclosure Design Tool (EDT) Project in collaboration with BOSF - Nyaru Menteng, Central Kalimantan.

At the BOS Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Center in Central Kalimantan, a variety of forest foods are available for orangutans to feast upon, like young stems, leaves, bark, termites, and wild fruits. The ability to locate, identify, and obtain these natural foods is essential for survival in rehabilitant orangutans, especially when they are released into the wild. Thus, Forest School provides a great opportunity to explore and practice these skills.

One day in February, Uru, a brilliant student from Forest School Group 4, managed to find one such wild delicacy. He located a leafy plant known locally as ‘suli’, the young stem of which orangutans enjoy eating, and plucked the large plant from the ground using both hands.

Once he had this treat in his hands, other Forest School students quickly took interest. Uru, fully aware of the attention suddenly on him, immediately climbed up a tree with the suli in his mouth. He climbed up the tree until he was around 15 meters off the ground, looked back to make sure nobody was following, then settled on a branch to enjoy his food in peace. That suli must have been particularly yummy and rather precious, when that much effort is put in to preventing others from stealing it!

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