Monita: Fall 2021
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Rehabilitation Center: Nyaru Menteng
Arrival Date: 9 June 2018
Age on Arrival: 3 months
Current Age: 3 years
Current Location: Forest School – Group 3
Health Status: Healthy
Over the last few months, both the large and small Nursery groups have been brought together to form one big group including the older, more advanced orangutans and some of the youngest and newest arrivals. Of the 14 orangutans in this group, one has stood out thus far from the large group: magnificent Monita!
Being the heaviest orangutan in the group makes Monita easy to spot! She also possesses skills above the average orangutan her age. She actively explores Forest School alongside her peers and also with those from the younger group. Her strong, social nature and dominant traits give Monita the confidence to approach any orangutan. In fact, she is often seen leading groups of young orangutans. It appears as though the orangutans in these groups recognize and accept her leadership!
As we enter the dry season, occasional heavy rainfall still flushes the Nyaru Menteng area at night. After such rain, many rotten and fallen trees can be found around Forest School. This type of weathered wood is the perfect place to find termites, a natural source of protein for orangutans.
Monita and other orangutans, including her best friend Delilah, have been practicing their techniques in foraging for termites. They will sit in front of an old tree trunk and wrestle to be the first to suck on its cavities for termites. As a dominant figure, Monita is usually the first in line. After she has had enough, Monita will move out of the way so that Delilah and the others get their chance to snack on termites.
In addition to her sound foraging skills, Monita can also now climb tall trees. Our surrogate mothers have witnessed Monita break small tree branches as though preparing materials to build a nest. Despite her attempts, though, Monita never seems to be able to complete any of them. She usually abandons her pile of broken branches to go off and explore. The surrogate mothers have yet to teach Monita how to build a proper nest, but still encourage her and her peers to practice and learn organically.
Monita might still be quite young, but she has already mastered several survival skills. However, she is still quite dependent on the surrogate mothers and, at times, will whimper like a baby if she is left behind. Considering her tender age, this is a completely understandable reaction, as she is still seeking comfort from a mother figure. We are certain that her independence will grow as time goes by.
Don’t worry Monita, you are going to be just fine! 🙂
In the middle of the year, Paulinus, Christina, and the Monita advanced from the Nursery Group to Forest School Group 3. These three orangutans were indeed the most skilled and had progressed the furthest amongst the youngsters in the Nursery Group; especially Monita, with her dominating nature. However, Monita’s move to Forest School 3 meant that she had to part ways with her best friend, Delilah, who remained in the Nursery Group.
Forest School Group 3 is located in the Nyaru Menteng 1 area, or the "clinic", as the staff refer to the rehabilitation center's main complex. Group 3's area is located quite a distance away from the Nursery Group, across the main road, in fact. Forest School Group 3 also covers a much larger area than that of the Nursery Group, with taller trees and a dense canopy. Despite her good climbing skills, Monita looked a little hesitant to climb these tall trees on her first day in the group.
However, Monita was fortunate enough to reunite with Topan and Alejandra, two of her friends from the Nursery Group who had joined Group 3 before her. Upon spotting the two, without any hesitation, Monita scampered up to Alejandra, who was eating fruit at the feeding platform. They enjoyed some fruit together for a while, before Topan came to lead Monita away to meet the other orangutans in the group.
Our surrogate mothers have noted that among the three new students, Monita is the one who has adjusted the quickest. In just a short time, she has built up the confidence to play with orangutans much bigger and older than her. She pays great attention to them and imitates their skills. Now, Monita will happily chase other orangutans, like Zahri, up into the treetops to play, wrestle, and build nests together.
Adjusting to her new group means that Monita has also had to get used to a new routine. When she was in the Nursery Group, she would spent the night in the Baby House accompanied by a surrogate mother all night long. Now, Monita sleeps with her group of friends in the night enclosure, without any surrogate mothers present to comfort her.
We are delighted to see that Monita has not been shocked by these changes and are relieved that she seems comfortable and interacts well with other orangutans. Every morning, Monita cheerfully greets the surrogate mothers who arrive to lead her and her peers to Forest School. She always shows them great enthusiasm!
Keep up the outstanding work, Monita! You're a true superstar! 🙂