Cinta: Fall 2021
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Rehabilitation Center: Nyaru Menteng
Arrival Date: 14 February 2013
Age on Arrival: 3-5 months
Current Age: 8 years
Current Location: Badak Besar Island
Health Status: Healthy
Summer Flashback: Cinta's big move!
Wednesday, 7 April, 2021 was a special day for Cinta and her friends Jumbo, Valentino, and Hanin: After many years of Forest School training, followed by a socialization stage lasting more than 12 months, these four orangutans were transferred to a pre-release island to undertake the final stage of rehabilitation. Cinta and her friends are now enjoying life on Badak Besar Island, where they get to have new adventures and experiences every day!
The day prior to their transfer, our animal welfare and medical teams conducted general health examinations on the four candidates. Dressed in full PPE, our team members first approached Cinta and Hanin’s complex; the two orangutans looked uncomfortable and confused by the appearance of our vets in full PPE. But after a short while and with the help of some small enrichment items, Cinta and Hanin became more relaxed and the process went smoothly from beginning to end.
On the day of the transfer, we took a 4-hour trip by boat from Sei Gohong port to Badak Besar Island, located in the Salat Island cluster. Travel by river was chosen over travel by road, to help minimize the possibility of unnecessary encounters with local villagers, as we adhere to strict health protocols to help curb the spread of COVID-19. While this was the safer option, it increased our travel time by two hours.
At first, Cinta seemed to be quite calm as she sat quietly in her transport cage. She ate heartily and even laid down casually several times. But halfway through the journey, she began to show signs of growing anxiety, as she banged on the cage wall and reached through the bars.
By around noon, the four transport cages had arrived at one of the docks on Badak Besar Island. As her transport cage was lifted from the boat and taken to the designated release point, Cinta showed her impatience by rattling the cage hard. Not wishing to hold her any longer than needed, we immediately opened her cage near a tall tree and feeding platform filled with fruits and vegetables.
Once her cage was opened, Cinta moved swiftly out of the cage. However, contrary to our prediction, she did not go straight to the feeding platform nor climb the tree; she moved toward our team instead. While she was not showing aggression, our team members still took precautionary measures and moved away from her slowly. Then, Cinta stopped and turned her attention to the pile of fruits and vegetables on the feeding platform.
After all four orangutans had left their transport cages, the observation team took over to record all the orangutans’ behaviors and activities; from eating and socializing, to exploring and resting. Cinta, who was known to be very explorative in Forest School, immediately demonstrated her ability to our observation team members, who had difficulty keeping up with her! And this was just her first day on the island!
The next day, the team found Cinta perched in a tall tree by the river, far from the point where she was released. Unlike other females, who usually roam nearby their release locations in the first days post-release, Cinta immediately displayed her extraordinary ability and bravado as she explored far and wide. She also showed her displeasure at the presence of the observation team and consistently kept her distance.
This is just the beginning for Cinta. We are certain she will become an independent female who continues to hone her skills during this last stage of rehabilitation. What a fantastic start, Cinta!
Each individual, rehabilitated orangutan takes a different amount of time to develop and adapt to life on a pre-release island. There are orangutans who take their time and carefully learn about their new surroundings and circumstances, and there are others who are more daring when trying new things. However, one thing we know for certain: every orangutan learns about their new environment in a similar way — by exploring every corner of the island.
Cinta, who was moved to Badak Besar Island six months ago, has adjusted easily and quickly to life on the pre-release island. Since day one of her arrival, Cinta has been exploring all over the island. On many occasions our team has had to rush just to keep up with her and make observations. Not only is Cinta good at exploring new environments, she is also quite good at foraging for natural food on her own.
During the recent dry season, natural food sources throughout the Salat Island Cluster have started to diminish, especially the amount of ripe fruit. However, scarcity of fruit is not a serious problem for orangutans on the islands, especially for skillful foragers like Cinta. Thanks to the skills she learned in Forest School, Cinta is able to quickly and easily locate a variety of other natural foods on the island.
When wild fruits are low, Cinta has been observed relying on several flower and fruit-producing plants as a source of food, including kambasulan (Pternandra sp), forest guava, glodokan or Polyalthia, and grass shoots. Cinta also occasionally visits the feeding platform, especially in the afternoons, to pick up some additional fruit for her evening meal and socialize with her friends Jumbo, Valentino and Hanin.
A few weeks ago, when Cinta and newcomers Hanin and Valentino were playing on the feeding platform, Ben arrived. Ben is an older male who has been living on Badak Besar Island for quite some time. Cinta seemed comfortable with Ben's presence, perhaps because they had met previously in Forest School and at the Nyaru Menteng playground. It seems that their friendship has continued on the island, as Cinta has been spotted waiting for Ben at the feeding platform before moving on to explore with him.
Before Ben's arrival, Cinta was happy to explore on her own, but now she has a friend to tour the island with! Roaming the island with Ben has led to Cinta expanding her range and increasing the amount of time that she spends in the canopy. Her demeanor toward our technicians has also changed: She is now calmer, less aggressive, and simply moves away when she sees technicians around the island observing her.
We are delighted to see Cinta's amazing progress thus far on the pre-release island. Ultimately, there are two goals for orangutans on pre-release islands: proving they have the necessary survival skills to live in open forest and decreasing their dependence on and interest in humans. As Cinta is now clearly showing her preference for orangutan company over that of human company, we are confident she is on the right path.
Based on her progress and in order to ensure that she continues to grow weary of humans, our teams will be minimizing their contact with Cinta, which means this will be the last time the communications team will be able to follow her for an update!
Our technicians will keep a distant watch over her, but for now we want to thank you for supporting Cinta on her exciting journey. She may no longer be the subject of the adoption program, but her ‘wild life’ is just beginning and she couldn’t have gotten here without your help! We love you Cinta... now and forever!