Jungle School at the Orangutan Sanctuary in the Bukit Tigapuluh Ecosystem is being conducted with strict health protocols due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is very important that young orangutans can spend as much time as possible in the forest so they can improve their climbing and foraging skills and build up their physical fitness and confidence.

Natalie and her good friend Ung Aing have joined more sessions of Jungle School at the Sumatran Orangutan Sanctuary in the Bukit Tigapuluh Ecosystem. She is an active and playful orangutan who is quite friendly with the orangutan keepers when she is in her enclosure but is quite wary and shy of them when out at Jungle School. Natalee still refuses to be carried to Jungle School and she uses the ropes connected from her enclosure to head out into the nearby forest.

Natalee still has much to learn in the forest however the orangutan keepers are already pleased with her progress. She is eager to try various food sources including forest fruits, leaves, cambium, and bark. Natalee often comes down to the ground and this can be quite a common thing for orangutans to do that are new to Jungle School. As Natalee builds up her strength, fitness and confidence in the canopy, it is likely that this will stop. Natalee doesn’t know how to build a nest yet, but she can learn this skill in time from other more advanced orangutans at the sanctuary.

Natalee’s appetite in general has improved and she eats all the fruits and vegetables given to her by the orangutan keepers and is not fussy. Her favourite is a local fruit called sawo. The orangutans receive food five times a day and their diet includes high carbohydrates (corn, sweet potatoes and bananas), high fibre (fruits and vegetables), and protein (milk, tempeh, boiled eggs). Natalee is estimated to be about 20kg. She also enjoys using all the different enrichment items including puzzle feeders, leaves with honey, leaf parcels and fishing for food pieces with long sticks.

We are thrilled that Natalee is doing well as she commences her rehabilitation journey in the jungles of Sumatra, leaving her caged life in Thailand far behind her.

(Program run by Ministry of Forestry and FZS)


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