At the Orangutan Care Centre and Quarantine (OCCQ), Patricia shines as a unique orangutan with an unforgettable personality. Her tranquil and relaxed disposition is infectious. Her gentle nature creates a calming atmosphere about her.
Patricia exudes independence and an air of breezy sophistication, taking her time transitioning between activities and setting her own pace. Relaxed and easy, Patricia does not rush on her way to forest school. She travels at a steady, casual pace, taking breaks to pause and gaze up at the surrounding canopy.
Unlike many of her peers who scramble hurriedly to grip a tree, Patricia does not commence climbing until after spending some quality time of her own on the forest floor. She sits with her legs out in front of her, arms at her sides, and eyes gazing upwards. Looking up at the trees, she patiently assesses the best spot to begin her arboreal ascent.
Patricia is selective in which trees she visits, and takes her time to perch comfortably in the treetops of her choosing. One of the larger female orangutans, she is not hindered by her size in manoeuvring elegantly through the forest canopy. Gone are the days of raucous play with peers. In their place are moments of solitude in secluded locations with the breeze gently rustling the leaves that surround her while she immerses herself in a delectable feast of fruit.
A healthy eater, Patricia never wastes available food. She remains peacefully in one spot until the very last ripened fruits are contently munched away. She patiently strips the edible parts of larger food items down to the very last fibre. A particular favourite is “tebu telur”, a grasslike vegetable unknown in the West.
Patricia knows how she enjoys spending her time, and does not defer from these favoured activities. Once satiated with fruit, she often falls into a serene morning rest, high up in a tree. These moments provide the opportunity for both orangutan and human caregiver to stop and absorb their surroundings, as the forest bursts into a mosaic of colors, textures and sounds.
When caught in the sunlight, Patricia’s dark eyes transform into a bright golden hue. Her luscious hair pushes forward, providing her with a long fringe. She takes in her surroundings with long, sustained gazes, scanning new visitors with her eyelids slightly lowered. With her sensitive stare, Patricia commands something of royal respect. Her inclination toward visual exploration creates a chain of reflection in others, leading to a deeper and sustained appreciation among the caregivers and volunteers watching her for their forest surroundings.
Even these meditative moments are key in preparing Patricia for release back into the wild. Exhibiting a natural behavior like the enjoyment of solitude, Patricia reassures us that she will be ready when the time comes to permanently return to the environment that she is so beautifully adapted to inhabit.