Sunday, July 24, 2016

Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre - Entering the great apes’ domain

SOON enough, after I arrived, I could hear branches rustling, and as I looked up towards the sky, I saw dark shapes moving high among the forest canopy.

They were ‘the men of the forest’ — the orangutans of  Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre — slowly making their way towards the feeding platform near the information centre.

The platform is located at a clearing area against a huge tree, about 50 metres from the roped-off observation centre.

It was so amazing coming face to face with the endangered orangutans of Borneo. These graceful, red-haired great apes are really active, alternating between eating, climbing and swinging across the suspended ropes strung between the trees, leading to the feeding platform.

On the platform were some food — bananas and sweet potatoes. Three of the primates had shown up. There was seven-year-old Endu, Delima’s youngest offspring. After being orphaned, Endu was cared for by her sister, Selina.

Making her way to the platform, Endu was closely followed by Selina and one other relative — Anaku.

Endu was really cute and playful, even taking some time to pose for professional and amateur photographers among tourists while descending to the platform.

When I turned to look, I saw her munching some food before stuffing her mouth with more food, especially bananas.

When Selina and Anaku clambered onto the platform, Endu climbed back up to the rope to eat by herself.

Anaku, 10, is the first offspring of Analisa and Seduku’s first grandchild, making him the first of the third generation of orangutans at the centre. His name is a combination of Ana from Analisa (mother) and Ku from Seduku (grandmother).

It is said since a very young age, he has shown remarkable jungle skills and has now grown to be an independent young male, bravely venturing into the forest of Semenggoh on his own.

Selina, born in 2004, is the first daughter of Delima, and said to have inherited her mother’s unique sense of style.

The drama-queen princess has now transformed into a very popular belle among the male orangutans and is currently Ritchie’s girlfriend.

After the death of Delima, Selina has reportedly taken on the role of mother to her young sister, Endu.

Then, we proceeded to the platform inside the park, and having her meal was 20-year-old Analisa, the first offspring of Seduku and the first female orangutan born in Semenggoh.

She became a mother at age of 10 to Anaku in 2006 and gave birth the second time to Digital Guro in 2012.

Her mother Seduku is the ‘Grand Old Lady’ of Semengoh and a grandmother now at 55.

Her playful nature is akin to Delima’s and she is often seen having a tumble on the ground and swinging among the trees.