Vanessa is a bright, sweet orangutan who loves her time in the forest. The moment the door of her sleeping enclosure is opened, she jumps out and takes a caregiver’s hand, trying to hurry him or her along. It is clear that she knows the forest is where she belongs.

In contrast to some of her peers who like to start the day playing with each other, Vanessa usually heads off by herself.  She is a skilled and experienced climber who can scale even tall trees quickly.  One of her favorites are the leaves and berries of the pampiing tree: when she finishes eating in one pampiing tree, she often moves on to another tree of the same species. She tends to linger in the same tree for a long time, carefully moving from branch to branch, picking the tastiest leaves. But once she’s decided she’s done, she quickly moves deeper into the forest. Her “mental map” of the rehabiltation forest seems to be excellent as she always knows exactly where she wants to go. Vanessa keeps herself busy in the mornings, but tends to relax in the afternoons, calmly observing the hustle and bustle down below on the forest floor. On hot days, she’s quick to find a puddle of water and immerse her hands and feet in the mud, or to splash clean water on herself as if taking a bath.

If Vanessa is in the forest when it rains, she climbs high up into a tree to construct a day nest. To keep herself dry, she sometimes holds a large leaf above her head.  If Vanessa sees her caregivers searching for termite nests, she is always happy to come down to the forest floor, eager to help. Once she has removed  the nest from the soil, she breaks it open and sucks out the termites as well as sucking those that crawl on her hands. Vanessa is a smart orangutan who has learned to make use of a wide range of forest foods.

With her pretty face and gentle personality, Vanessa is certainly a favorite with the caregivers. She has made a lot of progress during her time at the Care Centre and she is very close to having acquired the skills she will need to survive by herself in the wild. The time is near for when Vanessa won’t have to return to her sleeping enclosure in the late afternoons anymore, but will live permanently in the forest of Borneo that she so loves!

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