Earlier this year, the Post-Release Monitoring (PRM) team on the release site in the Kehje Sewen Forest spotted male orangutan Justin during an orangutan patrol. And Justin made one thing clear: He did not want to be followed!

On all release sites the Post-Release Monitoring team observe the rehabilitated orangutans that have been released into the wild.

The PRM team often have exciting stories to tell when they return from their patrols in the rainforest. A few months ago the team spotted male orangutan Justin, who was released in the Kehje Sewen Forest four years ago.

Read more about rehabilitation and monitoring.

The team’s observations after spotting Justin

One late afternoon our team was returning from a regular orangutan patrol when Justin was spotted wandering not far from camp. Not wanting to miss a moment, we immediately followed and observed him. Justin was seen on this day doing little else other than sitting up in a tree and observing his surroundings. He did this for quite some time, then moved to another tree and climbed down to a lower branch. We heard the cracking sound of branches breaking, indicating that he was building his night nest. With the knowledge he was settling down for the night, we took note of his nest location for the next day’s observations and headed back to camp.

The next morning, Justin seemed particularly fond of liana pith and appeared to spend a long time and effort on locating and savouring liana piths. He also ate calamus and wild ginger shoots.

Independent Justin
Photo: BOS-RHO

Justin also indicated his dislike for human presence by kiss-squeaking and grunting at us; sounds that orangutans produce to show they are annoyed. A kiss-squeak is a very loud smooch-like sound made by pursing and smacking the lips together; while the grunting is reminiscent of that of a pig. The two sounds don’t always appear together, so when they do, we know the orangutan is being serious and we got the picture – Justin didn’t want us watching him!

Justin threw twigs at us to make sure his message was understood loud and clear, then climbed up a tall tree until he a bit later climbed back down to the ground and disappeared from sight.

Justin’s anger is a sign of his independence, thanks to his four years of experience exploring the forest. Great job, Justin!

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