Gokong is in excellent health and continues to develop his adolescent male orangutan characteristics. As explained in the last update, due to Gokong’s size and behaviour, he is no longer able to attend Forest School at the SOCP Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. He can be quite aggressive towards female staff and he is still more interested in interacting with humans rather than interacting with him orangutan peers.
Thankfully, the plan is for Gokong to be moved to the Jantho release site in the province of Aceh later this year. Unfortunately, Gokong just missed out on being able to travel to the Jantho release site in 2020 as planned due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Gokong will not be released straight away but will join the Advanced Forest School, which is designed for older orangutans such as Gokong. The Advanced Forest School area is much larger than the Forest School at the rehabilitation centre where he is currently living. The new area is also surrounded by natural barriers such as rivers and it is far away from villages and human activitey. We anticipate this more natural environment will gradually decrease Gokong’s human-oriented behaviour.
Gokong will join other orangutans in the Advanced Forest School who also need to further build their forest survival skills. This larger area will increase Gokong’s physical fitness and will provide a huge increase in mental stimulation. It is also likely that Gokong will change his focus from people to other orangutans in this new and stimulating environment and will develop his forest skills by observing and copying other more experienced orangutans.
It is exciting that Gokong is so close to taking his last steps before forest freedom and we will keep you updated on his progress.