Bumi: Fall 2021
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Rehabilitation Center: Nyaru Menteng
Arrival Date: 18 June 2016
Age on Arrival: 2 months
Current Age: 5 years
Current Location: Forest School – Group 3
Health Status: Healthy
Earlier this year, a surrogate mother found a festering wound on Bumi’s hand. The wound, thought to have been caused by a bite from a long-tailed monkey living in the Forest School area, was having an effect on Bumi’s ability to grip. The surrogate mother and a veterinarian immediately examined his hand and treated it at the clinic. Bumi then had to rest for several days in the complex, to avoid overusing his hand and potentially causing infection. Unfortunately, this also meant that Bumi had to miss out on Forest School for a few days and spend time away from his friends.
Luckily, Bumi’s wound dried and healed sooner than expected, allowing him to quickly return to Group 3. For the first few days back, he did not seem as agile and active as before, but at least he was able to explore the forest with his bestie, Bravis.
Bumi’s injury completely recovered and left only a small scar. He can now move, play, climb, and swing freely in the forest canopy, just like he could prior to his injury. Bumi now seems to be more aware of his surroundings and more alert; and of course, wary of those pesky long-tailed monkeys!
Unfortunately, early last month it was Bravis' turn to miss Forest School, due to illness. Bumi, who had gotten used to playing with Bravis, quickly learned to mingle with other orangutans in the group. He now has two good friends in Alejandra and Topan. These two active, skilled females have brought joy to Bumi’s days. He now seems to be more accepting of the food offered by the surrogate mothers and is enjoying adventures in the forest with his new friends.
Our surrogate mothers often carry woven bags filled with corn, some of which is overripe and slightly brown in spots that form a sweet pattern. Some corn with smoother surface and is bland in taste. Surprisingly, Bumi prefers the bland corn and will even hand pick his own from a surrogate mother’s woven bag.
One day, Bumi was seen busily arranging twigs and piling leaves on a stumpy tree trunk. A surrogate mother believed he was building a nest and that was because, he was! Unfortunately, he had to quickly abandon his plans once school was over, leaving the nest incomplete. Even so, Bumi still got to enjoy his half-finished nest, as he managed to rest there for a moment to eat some wild fruits he had found in the forest.
Forest School Group 3, of which Bumi is a member, recently welcomed three new students from the large Nursery Group: Monita, Christina, and Paulinus. At first, Bumi paid little attention to these newcomers, until Paulinus approached him one day while he was swinging on a tree. Bumi immediately welcomed Paulinus and the two happily played together.
Bumi and Paulinus have since included Christina in their friendship, with Bumi often leading the trio on their explorations of the outskirts of Forest School. While their movements and explorations can cause the surrogate mothers some concern, it is wonderful that Paulinus and Christina are able to get a better understanding of the area while also picking up new skills. Sometimes, Bumi will show them the different types of available food sources in the area, and how to forage for them.
Not only has this had a positive impact on the new members of Group 3, the surrogate mothers believe this friendship dynamic has also had a positive impact on Bumi. He appears to have become more mature, more independent, and now spends more time in the trees. He often leads the pack to their Forest School area in the morning and is setting a very good example for his juniors!
After a whole day of exploring, Bumi and his new friends will regroup in the Group 3 playground. Bumi will then spend the rest of the afternoon wrestling with other orangutans and end the day with some refreshing milk. This is when we see how Bumi still depends on the surrogate mothers, as he often approaches them to demand extra servings of milk. Bumi will throw twigs at the surrogate mothers if he feels ignored or if the amount of milk given does not satisfy him. However, this behavior is normal for an orangutan his age, as others in the group sometimes pull similar acts. As with human children, making a little noise gets them what they want!
Students in Forest School Group 3 are typically aged around 4-5 years old and, from time to time, will still need the comfort of a surrogate mother. This corresponds with the behavior displayed by wild orangutans of the same age. Wild-born orangutans remain in close proximity to their mothers, roaming under their supervision and learning to forage by imitating them. Bumi and his friends are still growing and learning through exploration and imitating the habits of other orangutans and their surrogate mothers. However, our surrogate mothers are also always on hand to offer a sense of consistency and security to young orangutans that still need it.
Keep up the great work, Bumi! 🙂