One could cut the atmosphere with a knife as anxious vets observed an orangutan mother being handed her infant daughter after their untimely separation. Would she accept or refuse her baby?
A series called Orangutan Jungle School highlights the plight of rescued orangutans and shows the process involved before returning them to the wild.
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Clara, a teen orangutan mother, and her baby, Clarita, were living in a forest on Borneo island when a dominant male orangutan kidnapped her newborn.
Clara was found distressed and alone and taken to the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rescue Centre.
Fortunately, Clarita was also found. Both mother and baby had been apart for a week, so it was imperative that they were reunited as quickly as possible to avoid future developmental problems.
Staff knew Clarita needed mother’s milk but they were unsure if Clara would accept her daughter since she was handled by humans. There was no way to tell how she would react.
“The mother can reject the baby when the baby smells different like the first time,” a worried staff member said.
One staff member, Ursula, tentatively held up the tiny Clarita to Clara, with the cage between them, and staff held their breath.
She reintroduced them, speaking in a soft tone, “Clara this is your baby yes, sweetheart.”
Clara looked at the infant and reached through the bars. Vets were cautious, afraid she might hurt Clarita.
But Clara was so gentle. She affectionately stroked her daughter’s head with her big hands.
One vet told Clara, “this is your baby give her affection.” And with that, Clara took Clarita to her breast, to nurse her.
Clarita was finally reunited with her mother.
We are celebrating the release of the Orangutans Pangkuay, Sisil and the mother-infant pair Clara and Clarita back into the wild. Clara and Clarita's emotional story features on the Orangutan Jungle School now playing on Stan.
— BOS Australia (@BOS_AUS) November 7, 2018
She went to lie down on the floor with her baby, her back to the camera, and started breastfeeding her baby. Immediately Clarita stopped crying.
The look of relief on Clara’s motherly eyes is too touching for words.
Immediately, the light of her life returned to her and she was content at last.
The team were deeply touched by Clara’s reaction. Ursula said it was the highlight of her career.
The most rewarding part is being able to be a part in helping to rehabilitate and return these creatures safely to their natural habitat, the forests.
Watch the amazing mother-and-baby reunion in the video below: