Asto and Asih

Asto and Asih love going to Jungle School in the morning and late afternoon. They have learnt so much and developed their forest skills over the last six months.

Little Asto and Asih playing in the canopy


Asih weighs 10.5kg and is a very active orangutan. She is always curious about what Asto is up to and follows her a lot. Asih is now climbing high up into the canopy and will often hang from her feet. She is becoming more skilled and confident at moving from one tree to another. She often moves so fast that it is hard for the orangutan keepers to take photos of her.

If Asih is quiet, it is almost certain that she has found her favourite ficus fruit. Thankfully there are many ficus trees at our Sumatran Rescue Alliance (SRA) rescue centre. Asih will only eat the tasty ripe ficus fruits and ignore the unripe ones. Recently, Asih made a loud and long kiss squeak at Jungle School. Orangutans make this sound when they are agitated about something. Asih moved away from the area after kiss squeaking and then continued to forage. It is great that Asih has shown this important wild behaviour.

Asih became unwell in August and was quiet and lethargic. She was examined by the veterinarian and Balantidium coli was found in her faeces. Asih received treatment and quickly recovered. Thankfully, she was back to her active self very quickly.

Asto weighs 13.7kg and she has grown in confidence and increased her skills at Jungle School. For a while she was seen foraging at a height of 2m in a tree. Out of curiosity, the orangutan keepers approached her to see what she was doing. Asto was opening and rolling out leaves dried leaves. The keepers thought she had found caterpillars that are commonly found in dried banana leaf rolls. However, Asto had found ant eggs in these dried leaf rolls. And she thought they were delicious! Not long after, her little sidekick Asih approached her and wanted to share in the feast. However, Asto didn’t share her new favourite meal with Asih so maybe Asih will learn to find these herself.

Asto now climbs very high in the canopy and has greatly improved in transferring from one tree to another, even if there are only a few interconnecting branches. She will use her body weight to swing on one branch and move close to the other tree. This is a very important skill that wild orangutans learn and develop over time.

Both girls love receiving enrichment when they are in their enclosure. The keepers bring them lots of different things to keep them busy including seeds and nuts hidden in banana or bamboo stems. Another favourite are wooden blocks that are hollowed out and filled with honey. Asto and Asih need to use sticks to extract the delicious liquid honey. Durian and rambutans are devoured when they are in season. Asto and Asih cannot break open a durian by themselves yet so the keepers will split it for them. However, when the durian fruit is ripe and the tip is slightly open, then Asto can open the fruit.

The girls are given leafy branches every day so they can make sleeping nests. Asto especially likes to make her leafy nest in the hammock. They also love playing with the branches. They have some way to go before they master the art of nest making but this normally takes years to learn from their mothers.

It is wonderful to see Asto and Asih continue to learn and flourish in the forest at our SRA rescue centre.

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Asto and Asih