Ting San Spotted by the Orangutan Sanctuary

Ting San Spotted by the Orangutan Sanctuary

Posted by Sam Hopkins on 21st May 2012

On her 1 month anniversary of freedom, Ting San was spotted. We have been taking daily feeds into the jungle for her but were starting to get concerned as the food was never getting eaten. She took off into a different area than where Ghanti and son have set up residence, which wasn't really surprising as she is not the most sociable of orang-utans. She headed off in the direction of the new ranger station we are building, which is on the trail to the dam. However, it is clear now that she travelled quite a bit further than this.

Many past volunteers will have spent a day at the glorious waterfall in Kubah National Park. Clearly, Ting San has heard that this is a beautiful place to visit, and it is here that she was photographed by a rather surprised tourist. Thankfully, it was a very ethically-minded tourist, who kept her distance and expressed concern at the orang-utan's evident lack of fear of people, recognising that this would not serve her well in the long run if she continued to hang around a tourist area. She none-the-less managed to capture some great photographs of her (posted to this group), leaving no doubt that it is indeed Ting San.

It looks as though she has lost a little weight, but this is no bad thing for any of the orangs at Matang to go through, as they are certainly all carrying some extra pounds! It is very encouraging that she has spent a month now in the forest here and has managed to feed herself. It is also encouraging that she decided to move a good distance away from the centre – although it's caused us moments of concern, it's a reflection of her independence that she did not seek to remain close to the human company she is so used to now. However, that said it is not an ideal place for her to get too comfortable – the majority of tourists will not keep their distance, and no doubt before long she will be offered to share their food and/or pose for photos with them. This obviously increases the risk of zoonosis and increases the chance that a tourist will behave inappropriately, leading to a bite.

The keepers, from the orangutan sanctuary have been trekking through the jungle each day since to try to get a sighting and to offer her some food if she wants it. The aim over the coming days and weeks will be to get her to move just a bit closer to Matang and away from the tourist area in Kubah, closer to a feeding platform where she can find sustenance if she needs it. She is the first of a few orangutans we hope to release in that area over the next year, though we cannot take credit for her move into the semi-wild. Our thanks go out to Ghanti, who allowed us to forego the administrative process and logistical planning of a release, and just do it the orang-utan way.


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