In July 2014, a mother orangutan and her tiny infant was spotted at our Hornbill Boardwalk for the first time. It was one of those unexpected and most exciting occurrence to ever happen at the lodge. She and her baby kept a safe distance of at least 50m away from people and was mostly in hiding. At that time, the mother orangutan was probably wondering, “What are these hairless creatures?” That year, she only appeared with her new born every three or four months, so it was quite rare to be able to sight them.
The following year, the mother orangutan and her baby started approaching closer to our lodge. At that time, the baby orangutan had already begun roaming freely away from his mother, while she watched intently over him from a safe distance. The little one will take its time to observe the curious humans at the lodge before returning back to its mother’s embrace. With abundant fruit trees available all year round around the lodge, and no threats or disturbance from humans, mother orangutan and baby have made Sukau Rainforest Lodge part of their home. From then on, they became our resident orangutans.
We decided to name both mother and baby orangutan and got our guests at that time involved in a naming contest. Kate Williams chose the name Lucky and Day for mother and baby, which signifies the ‘Lucky Day’ of being able to witness the orangutans at the lodge. It’s always a sight to behold at the lodge when they come to visit and those who get a chance to see them are always called the lucky ones.
By 2016, Lucky and Day have roamed closer to our Ape Gallery. Day is now reaching the juvenile age of 2 to 3 years old. Both orangutans have grown familiar with humans and don’t mind the attention they receive from guests observing them and taking their photos. They seem to enjoy the attention too! They love spending time eating fruits on a Tarap Tree (Artocarpus sp) and Strangling Fig Tree located next to the Ape Gallery. Lucky has also made a nest for herself and Day around the Hornbill Boardwalk area.
Mother and juvenile orangutans’ visit have become more frequent by the following year. They have been spotted around the lodge every month, even reaching the villa areas even though there was construction work happening at that time. In December of 2017, Lucky and Day dropped by to visit us at our Melapi Restaurant by the river bank. It was definitely a joyful surprise for us and our guests.
Today, Lucky and Day can still be seen around the lodge, especially around Hornbill Boardwalk, Borneo Villas and Kari Boardwalk. It is always a delight for us and our guests to see them and even if they are our resident orangutans and are seen more frequently now, it’s always a ‘Lucky Day’ for us to still spot them around the lodge!
Although Lucky and Day don’t see us as a threat to them, we always advise our guests to keep a safe distance of at least 20 meters away from these wildlife, and to not use flash photography when taking their photos as it may scare them away.
(Photos are courtesy of Albert Teo, Founder and Managing Director of Sukau Rainforest Lodge)