Lisa is a daughter of Cissy, estimated to have been born in 1988. Lisa has been followed since she was an infant and since then we have seen her grow up into a beautiful adult female. Lisa has three kids: Lilly, a young adult female, Lois, a young juvenile boy and Leon an infant boy.
Like her mother, Lisa is extremely explorative and innovative. No other orangutan at Suaq uses tools as often and as flexibly as Lisa does. For any tricky foraging situation, like for example getting bugs out of tree holes or smashing open insect nests, Lisa knows what tools work best. The orangutans at Suaq seem to realize that Lisa is a master of tool use and often eagerly come close to watch when Lisa is using tools. Lisa does not seem to mind this attention and lets her spectators watch. But being an orangutan, her tolerance has certain clearly defined boundaries: she only shares her yields with her kids.
Lisa is one of the most well-habituated females at Suaq. She is very at ease with researchers observing her and basically ignores us the entire day. Sometimes, we even have to move out of her way so we are not too close to her. Lisa has been the starring character in many documentaries that have been filmed at Suaq. Lisa does not seem to mind the camera at all. While filming the last documentary, Lisa was trying to avoid a bunch of males who had been harassing her for many days. She soon realized that even though she was not scared of the camera, the males were. To the delight of the filmmakers, she then spent a lot of time directly above the camera seemingly aware that this would keep her harassers away.
Even after she became a mother, Lisa continued to associate often with her own mother, Cissy. Lisa and Cissy, with their dependent offspring Leon, Lois and Cinnamon, are then often joined by their older daughters, Lilly and Chindy, and their young infants as well. All nine travel, feed and sleep close to each other as one big peaceful family for many consecutive days. Lisa seems to know that she can still learn a lot from her mother and continues following Cissy through the forest. Cissy and Lisa will often take turns when looking after their infants, allowing one of them to feed while the other one rests in a day nest watching the kids play. Eventually, they will switch roles or even share their nests for a short time.
Lisa is a very caring, but also a very relaxed mother. Lois, her 8 year old son is still in constant association with Lisa and she continues taking care of him while also letting him go on his own excursions. After Lisa gave birth to Leon, Lois was always allowed to be close by and share the nest with his mother and new baby brother. Being an already experienced mother, Lisa seemed to always know what her baby’s needs were. We would watch her grooming and examining Leon frequently and as with her other kids, it reminded us how gentle and caring she is.
Lisa was last seen with Leon in June 2019. When we found her again in August, Leon was not with her anymore. Lois however, is still remaining with his mother. Lisa and Lois seem stressed and Lisa seems especially haggard, but we couldn’t see any injuries on either of them. We hope that Lisa will recover from her loss soon. We will try to keep an eye on her during this difficult time while making sure that we don’t disturb them or add to their stress.