Monita: Fall 2020

Rehabilitation Center: BOS Nyaru Menteng
Arrival date: 9 June 2018
Age on arrival: 3 months
Current age: 2 years
Gender: Female
Current position: Forest School – Nursery Group
Health status: Healthy

Monita has made excellent progress during her time in the Forest School Nursery Group, as evident from her growing independence and more frequent explorations of the forest on her own. Her cheeky habit of climbing and dangling from trees with a mouthful of fruit hasn't changed! It’s little wonder she has gained more weight than the others in her group.

One day, the Nursery Group welcomed newcomer Kaladan. Monita, who was busy dangling on a tree branch, did not seem to mind the new kid. That was until she saw her best friend, Delilah, playing with Kaladan. Not wanting to miss it out, Monita quickly approached the pair and joined in.

At first, Monita's dominant nature appeared to intimidate Kaladan. There were times when Kaladan would try to climb up a tree, and Monita would deliberately tug at his legs to goad him into wrestling. With a heavier body, Monita could easily take him down!

A couple of times Monita even made Kaladan cry. Having seen Monita do this before, the caregivers could tell that it was just part of her welcoming ritual.

Monita and Kaladan have since grown quite close, and together with Delilah they explore the forest together in search of termites under rotten logs. It is so lovely to see them getting along!

Sadly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, BOS has had to limit the number of surrogate mothers working in each group. This means that school hours have been reduced, giving Monita and her friends less time in the trees than they are accustomed to.
We hope the situation will improve soon, so these orangutan friends can get back to their explorations of the forest.

Hang in there, guys! We'll get through this together!

~

Monita is still enjoying her days in Nyaru Menteng's Forest School Nursery Group. Her brave and curious nature has led her to try many new things, including the sap of the nyatoh (Palaquim sp.) tree, which she recently tasted for the first time.

Monita usually brings some bananas to snack on during her explorations of the forest. One day, however, a surrogate mother followed Monita and introduced her to some other natural foods, such as mushrooms, termites, and nyatoh tree sap. Monita was already quite familiar with mushrooms and termites, as they are easy to obtain, but the sap was a new experience for her.

Nyatoh trees are easy to find in a certain area of Forest School, but the problem lies in the difficult technique required to collect the sap. The surrogate mothers typically do not teach the younger orangutans how to do it. Since Monita is quite a skilled forager for her age, however, a surrogate mother decided to start teaching her how to find and extract the sap.
The surrogate mother started scratching a nyatoh tree trunk, and waited for the white sap to seep out of the crack. Monita paid close attention, and when the surrogate mother handed her a twig covered with the sap, she quickly licked it. Monita even licked the sap directly from the tree trunk! She just couldn't get enough of it! Ah, sugar!

When the sap started to crystallize, Monita made every effort to make it flow once again. After several attempts at scraping the trunk with a sharp twig and biting the trunk, she finally tapped into more fresh sap. She might not have extracted as much as the surrogate mother did, but it was a great effort for young Monita.

Keep up the fantastic learning, Monita!