by Tom McLaughlin for the Borneo Post
It has always been thought that orangutans spend most of their time in trees lying around in afternoon nests, snoozing and occasionally, slowly and elegantly, moving through the canopy to find fruits or other morsels to eat and enjoy.
The observer at any of the wildlife refuges, where these great beasts come to feed at platforms, note they don’t seem to be in any hurry and will, in slow motion drop and reach for a rambutan like a Victorian lady at a formal dinner during the colonial era in Kuching.
Slowly and fluidly they climb up the tree to daintily eat their fruit and seemingly disappear and meld into the forest like a wisp of a ghost. Just about everybody has agreed these forest denizens spend most of their time in the trees.
However, researchers who spend a lot of time with these Bornean apes have noticed that they occasionally come down to the ground and meander around ripping apart a termite nest, picking up fallen fruit, invading oil palm estates to attack the developing nut and wandering around Acacia trees commonly used in planted forests.
Most reports have stated that it is mainly the flanged male who dares to leave the safety and comfort of the trees to explore these possible fruit sources.
Over on the island of Sumatra, those who have spent time in both orangutan areas know that those apes rarely come down to the ground. One theory is that the volcanic soil is much more fertile than the soil in Borneo so there is plenty to eat in the branches.
This excerpt from a news article is courtesy of the Borneo Post online and can be read in its entirety at http://www.theborneopost.com/2013/09/08/orangutans-come-to-the-ground/#ixzz2eVfBFbOI