How he has grown! Emil seems more and more like a wild orangutan every day. He likes to go deeper into the forest than many of his other orangutan peers who still prefer to stay within sight of their caregivers and other orangutans.

Emil is perfectly content when he is by himself in the forest but, just like wild adolescent orangutans, he also enjoys traveling occasionally with a friend. Emil is a very observant orangutan. As he climbs up the trees, he ambles slowly and stops frequently to survey the forest around him. But this careful, attentive mode of climbing is juxtaposed by a more heedless strategy. When he decides to descend from the trees, Emil grabs onto a young, bendy tree and then lets his body fall with the tree in an arc toward the ground. Sometimes the best way to determine Emil’s location is to listen for the sound of crashing branches. Whether this technique is brave or reckless, it seems to work for Emil! As for foraging skills, Emil is very resourceful. Since he spends most of his time in the trees, leaves are a common snack. And like many orangutans, Emil has a sweet tooth for termites and ants. But he has a few unconventional tastes as well. When he comes across a mud puddle, Emil balances along the edge, keeping a distance and running only his hand through the mud and water. He then licks the mud off of his hand enthusiastically. This might sound unappetizing, but mud can be a good source of nutrients! The same can be said for bark, another unusual snack that Emil enjoys. Sometimes a wild orangutan needs to be creative when there is a shortage of more tasty foods. The fact that Emil already knows the great variety of foods he can use to sustain himself bodes well for his future as a wild orangutan.

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