Happy New Year, and all the best to everyone for 2023!
As we kick off the new year, I have some exciting news from my recent trip to Borneo. On Dec 11, as I was already packing up to depart the next morning from the research station in Gunung Palung National Park, I got word that one of the field assistants had found the female orangutan named Berani, and that she had a new baby! Luckily, I was able to rearrange my travel to spend two days photographing Berani and her new baby before traveling home.
The research team had been tracking Berani’s pregnancy since the summer. We first suspected she was pregnant in June 2022, but were unable to get definitive results. By August, when we tested her urine again, the pregnancy test came back with clear results – positive! When the team found her again on December 11th, Berani was with a tiny new infant, who we believe is only a few weeks old.
The team has known Berani since 2008, when she was first found with her mother, Bibi. She was likely 3-4 years old at the time. By 2013, Berani had become independent from her mother, and in 2015 Berani’s younger brother, Bayas, was born. Now, we will be able to follow development not only of Bayas, who is now 7 years old, but Bibi’s new granddaughter, giving us more opportunities to follow and understand juvenile development in wild orangutans, who have the longest birth intervals of any mammals on the planet.
Milestones like these remind us how incredible and rewarding long-term research projects are. It is thanks to continued support from Indonesian counterparts and sponsors, as well as an international base of supporters and donors, that we are able to continue this important research!
As we start the new year, I’d like to invite you to become a regular supporter of our orangutan research and conservation work in the Gunung Palung area if you are not already. The website www.SaveWildOrangutans.org is your portal to learn all about our work.
By joining us, you will receive our monthly newsletter, and know you are making a contribution to the long-term protection of orangutans and all the biodiversity in the amazing Gunung Palung landscape. If we can get enough people making small contributions, even $5 per month (the price of one fancy coffee), it will really make a difference for the programs that our project can carry out.
As an extra incentive to becoming a monthly contributor, if you join before Jan 10 contributing $10 or more, you will receive one of my 12 inch orangutan prints of your choice in April, 2023.
This link will take you right to the “JOIN US” page for Save Wild Orangutans. https://www.savewildorangutans.org/join-us/
Berani’s New Baby
Here are a few more shots of the newest addition to the healthy population of WILD orangutans in Gunung Palung:
A newborn baby orangutan has to be able to hold on to mom’s hair and skin from birth. Berani’s new baby seem to have a good grip with her hands, but we saw her flailing a lot with her little feet to get a good grip.
Berani was constantly touching her baby, to make sure she had a secure grip.
When she needed her hands for feeding or travel, Berani often held her baby against her belly with a foot, like you can see in this photo.
It was hard to get a glimpse of the baby’s face which always seemed to be buried in mom’s chest. But when Berani traveled upright along this branch, we finally caught a glimpse of the baby’s tiny face. We believe she is less than two weeks old when this photo was taken on Dec 11, 2022. It will be exciting to follow her growth and development over the coming years as our long term research continues.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for your support!
UPCOMING IN 2023!
Are you an underwater photography enthusiast? Would you like to dive with me in the Raja Ampat Islands of Indonesia, one of the world’s most spectacular diving destinations and a paradise for underwater photography? I’m leading an underwater photo workshop at @Papua_Explorers resort from 6-16 August 2023 with underwater photographer @Kizilkaya_Zafer. Learn all about it at this Link: https://www.papuaexplorers.com/underwater-photography-workshop/