Signe: Amazing Mother and Teacher
Date Posted: Sept 26, 2022
Text by: Aluna Sagita Nainggolan, PRM Team member from Camp Nles Mamse, Kehje Sewen Forest, East Kalimantan
An overcast sky provided the perfect atmosphere for a relaxing afternoon at Camp Nles Mamse. While resting in a swaying hammock, I read a book and I enjoyed the cool air as it gently breezed through the thin cloth of my shirt. I was so comfortable that I fell asleep! I didn’t get to sleep for too long, though, as I was soon awoken by the sound of heavy rain. The cooler weather made me feel lazy, and it was hard to leave the warmth and comfort of the hammock. A few minutes passed before the rain stopped.
“Lun! Lun!”, I heard a voice calling me. It was Mbak Sri, the mainstay cook of the southern camp. I approached Mbak Sri, who was looking up into the trees at a mother orangutan and her baby. The mother-infant pair turned out to be Signe and her baby, sitting on a tree branch directly in front of our camp! I immediately grabbed a camera to capture the moment. After snapping a few photos of the two, I stopped to observe their actions.
Signe was busily showing her baby how to forage, as she carefully picked the young leaves around her. Her behaviour was immediately imitated by her baby, who also started twisting off young leaves from branches. The baby foraged for nearby leaves using one hand, while holding on tightly to mother Signe’s body with the other. Every now and then, they stopped and rested, then went straight back to plucking the young leaves all around them.
For nearly two hours, Signe and her baby foraged quietly on a branch. Signe then made a move to leave the location, as she brachiated carefully from branch to branch while her baby clung to her body. The faster Signe swung from branch to branch, the tighter the baby clung to her.
It was incredible to see Signe in action, teaching her offspring how to forage while keeping them safe in her arms at all times. What a wonderful mother!