Being so young when she first lost her mother at approximately 8 weeks of age, Popi has needed extra care and attention at the COP Borneo Rescue Centre. Her development and progress has amazed the dedicated staff at COP Borneo.
Popi’s main baby-sitter, Wety Rupiana has been a constant in Popi’s life and has helped her develop more independence. She spent a lot of time playing with Popi in the baby house, encouraging her to climb and build her strength. If Popi became afraid and cried then Wety would cuddle her until she calmed down. Infant orangutans are always with their mother who provide them with constant affection and security. Wety became this for Popi and after some time she began to cry less and become more confident.
Popi began attending forest school and has been many times in the last few months. She used to sleep or cry a lot during forest school. Rather than climb, she preferred to spend forest school time being held and chewing on the bark of trees. Over time Popi began to climb a few metres at a time. Recently she has climbed to the tops of trees up to 30m tall!
Popi now sleeps in the enclosure next to the clinic and has not yet transitioned to the socialisation enclosure with the other young orangutans. Popi still needs to learn how to make a nest from branches and leaves however she is still very young and has ample time to learn.
The COP Borneo orangutan keepers often make enrichment for the orangutans at the rehabilitation centre and Popi is no exception. An example of this are hollow pieces of bamboo stuffed with pieces of fruit and leaves and drizzled with honey. The orangutans need to use their fingers and sticks to poke the treats out of the bamboo. Enrichment like this encourages foraging behaviour and problem- solving skills. It also ensures the orangutans are kept busy and do not become bored. Normally Popi would have her mum to show her how to obtain tricky forest food items so she often isn’t sure how to use the enrichment. Of course her caring keepers help Popi to figure these things out.
Popi is certainly developing quickly. Her strength is beginning to show, her grip is no longer weak and her bites are no longer playful! Popi is well on her way to learning more skills that will help her return to the forest one day.