The second rotation of Husbandry. That means the FINAL rotation with my troublesome teens! Chiquita, Beryl, Kolapis, Kala, Gellison… time to say goodbye.
The week was carnage! In the 2 weeks since we had last worked with them Kala had gone from gentle and cute to the devil incarnate! He was so naughty; stealing food, grabbing the hose, biting, wriggling to get away, singling Alex out (as the only male volunteer) to come down off of the feeding platform specifically to challenge him to a fight. The rangers said that Kala views other males as a challenge and likes to exert his strength and authority over them. The explanation for this sudden change in behaviour was…. he had been hanging out with Ceria and developed bad habits! Just to refresh your memory, Ceria is the orangutan that’s so naughty even the humans scatter when he approaches!
Poor Kolapis wasn’t with us this week, he had fallen from a tree the week before and hurt his lip so he was in the clinic getting treatment :?. I’m told he is getting much better now :).
Beryl was still as good as gold and she’s getting a little braver too. She has started to go further out into the jungle and she even stayed out over lunchtime a couple of times. One day however, Clennan, a wild orangutan who has a young baby, chased Beryl across the ropes for feeding on the platform with her. Beryl had quite a fright and dropped down into the bushes before running to us shaking and crying. She’s learnt to avoid mother and baby now however, including Mariko, another wild orangutan with a little one.
Chiquita is still as crazy as ever, swinging madly from rope to rope, her long fur blowing in the wind. She’s still up to her old tricks; getting on the floor whenever possible and then somersaulting back to the platforms and climbing back up as soon as we head over to take her to the naughty tree, attempted bites, racing up the side of the tourist building and allowing herself to be dragged rather than jalan-ing (walking).
Gellison is still interested in everything. He loves things. One day the rangers were installing a new rope for the orangutans and he was just watching, in a very human-like way, taking it all in. I swear, he could do it himself given the tools! Grabbing gloves is his favourite. He will lure you into a false sense of security and then quick as a shot, before you even know what’s happened, your glove’s gone and you can almost see the laugh in his eyes.
One day was mayhem in particular. We had at least 20+ orangutans in, including both Mariko and Clennan and babies and multiple other wild ones. We then had macaques coming in from the jungle after their food. There must have been at least 50 of them. Initially you see trees rustling high up in the distance and you can tell by the way they move that it’s not an orangutan. Then the closer trees will start to rustle. Within a few minutes, tiny little macaque heads start to poke up through the foliage, over the top of the hill, in the treetops closest to the platforms…. preparing to make their attack. Fiesty little Chiquita chased them off with a stick! It was very cool to witness!
I had to leave a day early due to the mountain climb and it was really sad to say goodbye. I took Beryl in that last day, washed her little hands and feet, gave her her bottle with her big brown eyes staring up at me and then bid them all farewell.