The atmosphere could be cut with a knife while eager veterinarians watched the encounter of an orangutan mother with her little daughter after their untimely separation. Would you accept or reject your baby?
A series called Orangutan Jungle School highlights the plight of rescued orangutans and shows the process involved before returning them to their natural habitat.
Clara, an orangutan adolescent mother, and her baby, Clarita, lived in a forest on the island of Borneo when a dominant orangutan male abducted her newborn.
Clara was found, afflicted and alone, and taken to the Orangutan Rescue Center of Nyaru Menteng.
Fortunately, Clarita was also found. Both the mother and the baby had been separated for a week, so it was imperative that they meet as soon as possible to avoid future developmental problems.
The staff knew that Clarita needed breast milk, but they were not sure if Clara would accept her daughter as she was manipulated by humans.
“The mother can reject the baby when the baby smells different the first time,” said a concerned staff member.
Ursula, a member of the staff, was timidly holding little Clarita as she approached Clara with a cage in between. They were seconds in which all the staff held their breath.
Ursula reintroduced them, speaking in a soft tone, “Clara, this is your baby, yes, darling.”
Clara looked at the baby and took it through the bars. The veterinarians were cautious, fearing he might hurt Clarita.
But Clara was very kind and affectionately stroked her daughter’s head with her big hands.
A veterinarian told Clara, “This is your baby, give him affection.” And understanding everything perfectly, Clara took Clarita to her breast to nurse her.
Clarita finally met her mother!
He went to lie on the floor, with his back to the camera and began to breastfeed his baby. Immediately Clarita stopped crying.
The look of relief in Clara’s maternal eyes is too poignant for the words.
Immediately, the light of his life returned to her and finally, she was happy.
The team was deeply moved by Clara’s reaction. Ursula said it was the highlight of her career.
The most rewarding part is being able to be a part of helping to rehabilitate and return these creatures to their natural habitat, the forests.