After a full week of rain in Kehje Sewen Forest, today’s patrol was blessed with beautiful sunshine. Yosi, Bariyo and I were tasked to patrol along transect Wani, down to Tyo River. The other two Post Release Monitoring (PRM) teams were assigned to patrol along transect Mount Belah and transect Martin. We departed together from Camp Lesik until we reached Mount Belah, then went our separate ways towards our assigned transects.
Yosi, Bariyo and I headed to transect Wani. As usual, we checked for signals of orangutans every 100 meters using radio telemetry equipment. But we didn’t detect any orangutan in the area. We even climbed a nearby hill in the attempt to detect signals from a higher spot. The result was the same. No orangutans were detected.
After a while, we decided to continue along the main ex-logging road towards Tyo River since we had recently received information that some local residents saw an orangutan near the river.
These last few weeks, it has consistently rained at around midday. Unfavorable weather doesn’t discourage us from continuing our work. However, the radio telemetry equipment can’t be used in the rain because it is not waterproof. So we continued our search for orangutans by employing traditional techniques, i.e. by searching for broken branches, food leftovers or feces that may indicate the presence of orangutans around the area.
Fortunately, the rain didn’t last very long. After the rain subsided, we were informed by one of the other teams on our hand held radio that they had detected Yayang’s signal from the direction of Siwie Hill. After a quick discussion with all three teams via the radio, we agreed to search for Yayang together with each team coming in from different directions. But this joint effort still didn’t yield the expected result. Yayang was nowhere to be found. So we split up again and returned to each of our assigned transects.
Yosi, Bariyo and I continued our patrol by following the ridge along Siwie Hill. By late afternoon, we finally located Yayang who was sitting on the forest floor, happily feeding on forest ginger and termites.
Not far from where Yayang was sitting, we also spotted her daughter Sayang high up in the trees. Seeing us, Sayang immediately showed her dissatisfaction at our presence by loudly kiss-squeaking (a call indicating distress or displeasure made by sucking sharply between the lips or against the palm of the hand).
We kept our distance from Sayang so she calmed down. From our observations, pregnant Yayang looked very healthy and had a good appetite. Both she and her daughter Sayang ate a lot of forest fruits and young leaves.
After observing them for two hours and taking photos, we left them in peace. We pray that Yayang stays healthy throughout her pregnancy and will soon deliver Kehje Sewen’s first wild-born baby orangutan who will hopefully be as strong and active as her sister, Sayang.
Text by:Agus Purniawan, PRM Team at Camp Lesik, Kehje Sewen Forest
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