Sad news from the field: Leon, (Lisa‘s baby boy) has disappeared.
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We found Lisa without Leon. Because orangutan babies at this age cannot survive without their mothers, we have to conclude that Leon has died.
When Leon was born (even though he was exceptionally cute with a lot of orange hair!) we noticed he was different from other infants we have observed here at Suaq.
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It appeared that Leon seemed to have difficulty holding onto Lisa and moving around her: he often had his arms stretched and was dangling, as if he was too weak to remain in the proper baby clinging position. We feel this also led him to struggle with his ability to nurse and we only observed suckling on rare occasions. Orangutan infants usually start trying to leave their mothers to play and explore at around 6 months by pulling at nearby vegetation, however, we did not observe any of this with Leon.
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We will probably never know what happened to Leon, but based on our observations it is possible that Leon was suffering from a congenital condition.
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We hope that his mother Lisa will recover from her loss soon and we will try to keep an extra eye on her and Leon’s big brother Lois, throughout this event.
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Go to suaq.org (link in bio!) to learn more about Leon and his family and how you can donate to help our continuing efforts to understand and help these amazing creatures!
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📷: Lara & Dimas
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