Gracia and The Kids: Spring 2019
Georgia, Gracia's oldest daughter, was last spotted by BNF orangutan researchers at the end of January. She was found traveling from her home range, which was partially burnt in the devastating fires of 2015, over to the territory of Teresia and Timi, another orangutan family living in the Sebangau Forest.
According to Azis, BNF’s Orangutan Project Coordinator, this is unusual behavior for a female orangutan. “A lone female orangutan rarely enters into another’s home range” said Azis.
Georgia was confirmed as pregnant by using a human pregnancy test back in September so there are a few theories about why she is making this move now.
First, the food availability in the burnt area is limited. Like humans during the gestation period, female orangutans are in need of a good food supply to ensure they stay healthy and strong during pregnancy. With food shortages, Georgia and her new offspring may struggle during this crucial time.
Second, many tall trees were burnt down during the 2015 fires so there are few options to build sleeping nests in the canopy. With her current condition, it’s difficult for Georgia to build an ideal nest as female orangutans would normally chose trees over 90 feet tall for giving birth.
And finally, due to a lack of trees and canopy cover, the burnt area and forest nearby is too competitive for Georgia as the area is also home to other members of the G-family: Gracia, Gretel, and Gara.
BNF’s orangutan researchers predict that Georgia has now entered her 7-month of pregnancy, so in the next couple of months there will be a new member of the G-family.
Orangutans are known to be one of the slowest reproducing mammals with a birth interval of up to 7-8 years. Most female orangutans only have 2-4 offspring during her lifetime. The mother will invest years of her life raising her children until they are ready to live independently.
This is an exciting time for Georgia as she prepares for the arrival of her first child and she discovers her new role as a doting mother. BNF, supported by Orangutan Outreach, are reforesting the G-family’s home range in the burnt parts of the forest. We are working to bring the burnt area back to life, and provide Georgia and all of Sebangau’s orangutans a safe haven to live.