Orangutan Gerhana

Jan 2018


Rescue Orangutan Gerhana

From a malnourished little baby to a fighting spirit


Gerhana, born in 2017, was rescued on 31 January 2018. When he arrived at the ORANGUTAN FOREST SCHOOL, which is conducted by our partner Yayasan Jejak Pulang in cooperation with the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry. He was critically malnourished, dehydrated and constipated. He had been kept in a small cage built for a cat, within an empty room. He had a strong fever and showed flu symptoms. He was close to death. It took intensive medical care and 24h a day supervision to bring him back to good health.

Gerhana means ‘Eclipse’. It is Indonesian traditions to name male babies born on an eclipse ‘Gerhana’. On the day this underweight and mostly hairless little creature arrived at the Forest School, there was an eclipse. As the moon re-emerged from the shadow, we felt it symbolised a rebirth and a new start for Gerhana.

Currently Gerhana is in Level 2, but since he started to sleep in nests in the forest instead of returning to the night cages, Gerhana is in the process to be transferred to Level 3. He is a healthy, active little boy who loves to swing from branch to branch, tree to tree – something he does with ease. When the keepers find a tree with food, he moves like lightning to reap the rewards. He gets well with all the other orangutans and loves to eat! As he was so underfed when he arrived, this is a blessing, and we love to see his little belly grow and his hair return to his body. Besides eating, Gerhana loves playing with the jungle furniture – he is often seen with a big leaf draped over his head like a floppy hat!

Gerhana still has a bullet from an air rifle embedded in his lower left shoulder – possibly the remnants of the conflict that killed his mother. Luckily, it is not disturbing his health, but we may need to remove it as he grows older.

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