Meryl: Fall 2018

Rehabilitation Centre : BOS Nyaru Menteng
Date of arrival : January 7, 2015
Age on arrival : 8 months
Current age : 3 years
Current weight : 40 lbs.
Previous school position : Forest School – Group 1
Current school position : Forest School – Group 2
Gender : Female
Health Status : Healthy

As with humans, an orangutan’s immune system can drop every once in a while. Our medical team at Nyaru Menteng is always on high alert during the transitional period between the wet and dry seasons - a time when orangutans can easily fall ill. During this time, orangutans are given supplements, such as tonics of garlic, honey and vitamin C, to keep them in optimum health.

As the seasons change from wet and rainy to dry, many of our orangutans fall ill. Meryl, our beautiful girl from Nyaru Menteng Forest School Group 2, was one such orangutan who recently had to undergo treatment for a slight flu and mild cough at the clinic for a few weeks before being temporary placed with Forest School Group 1 while she made a full recovery.

Meryl turned out to be a great role model for her juniors in Group 1. She took Jelapat, Rona and Moci into the forest to explore, and showed them how to forage and even build nests— a new skill that orangutans in Group 1 have yet to be introduced to. Meryl showed them how to find twigs and collect leaves, then fashion them into a cosy mattress. Even though she did this on the ground, the younger orangutans were thoroughly engaged in the process and enthusiastically followed suit.

After a week in Group 1, Meryl was ready to re-join Group 2. She was excited to be reunited with her old friends and as soon as she set foot in the forest she rushed off to find her best friends Momot and Fatia. The three then spent the whole day catchign up and exploring the forest together.

Inside the Forest School area, young orangutans have the opportunity to learn and hone their survival skills with the support of social groups. Everybody has the chance to learn from one another! However, there are always some orangutans who do not share the same adventurous nature. Meryl used to be like that! She didn’t want to venture deep into the forest, preferring instead to stay close to her babysitters. It was only after she was encouraged by her friends that she bravely started to explore her surroundings.

Sweet Meryl has a lot of close friends. with Jelapat and Momot among them. The two dearly missed their pal Meryl when she was ill and not around, and would constantly search for her. One day, Momot and Jelapat discovered the place where babysitters were treating Meryl for her illness; and they decided to go for a visit. However, they had to be taken away from the area for their own good.

At times, babysitters have caught Meryl sneaking out of Group 2 and wandering toward the Group 5 area. Meryl is quite friendly with Jumbo and a few other orangutans from that group, all of whom are older and much bigger than the orangutans in Meryl’s group. She has played and roamed around the Group 5 area of Forest School with her friends, and seems to have acquired more confidence from her experiences with them.

Meryl still has a long way to go on her road to rehabilitation, but we are delighted to see her progress and we hope that she stays in good health and continues on this learning trajectory. Keep up the great work, Meryl!