A fresh start
For five years, two young Sumatran orangutans were kept as pets in a private home in Thailand. Now they are in Indonesia, at the FZS Jungle School, where soon they will begin learning the skills, they will need to someday survive independently in the forests of Bukit Tiga Puluh.
Natalee and Ung Aing are about six years old and victims of illegal wildlife trade. When they were young, they were smuggled into Thailand where they became pets. After being confiscated from their previous owners by Thai authorities (Natural Resources and Environmental Crimes Division), they were brought back to Indonesia on the 18th of December 2020. Since then, they have been in quarantine in Jambi, Indonesia with the plan to transfer them to the Jungle School on the 5th of April 2021.
The next step
While still in quarantine, the orangutans are introduced to their new surrogate 'mothers', who are FZS trained staff, with whom they will need to develop a trust bond if they are to succeed in learning new skills. This bonding is made easier with the presence of food, which the trainers bring to the orangutans five times a day.
But the trainers want the orangutans to also enrich their minds so that they don't become bored during their quarantine, so, the trainers give Ung Aing and Natalee puzzles to solve. Puzzles such as fruits hidden inside wrapped banana leaf parcels and unopened coconuts that they need to open are some examples. The orangutans can then examine and play with those things, while using their brains to figure out how to get to the delicious food hidden inside.
The trainers will try to teach them everything they need to know and monitor their progress" Dr. Peter Pratje
Going to school
Since Ung Aing and Natalee were only a year or two old when they came into human care, it may take them a little longer to catch up and be ready for life in the jungle, explains Program Manager Dr. Peter Pratje. The trainers will try to teach them everything they need to know and monitor their progress.
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Image in header taken by FZS Sumatra staff.