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When it Rains, it Pours

A low rumble of thunder may be your only warning. If you’re quick, you might catch the deep gray voluminous clouds glide across the sky like a curtain being drawn across a window. Perhaps you notice the strong wind that suddenly whips through the forest canopy, pulling at leaves and branches as it passes.

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In a moment the oppressive heat from the mid-day Borneo sun vanishes and you find yourself shuddering from the temperature drop. … These changes can only mean one thing- rainy season in Kalimantan!

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3Ulexa-04-2015-KAB One or two minutes is all it takes for rain clouds to darken a spotless, sunny day in Pasir Panjang. If you blink, you’ll miss it (and be stuck running for cover in a tropical downpour). After Central Kalimantan experienced a particularly damaging dry season, it felt like the fires would never stop. OFI assistants worked tirelessly to put out fires that destroyed much habitable orangutan forest. When the rain finally did arrive in early December, it felt as if the land breathed a sigh of relief! Almost overnight, the forest transformed back into a lush green landscape, a change that did not go unnoticed by the Center’s orangutans!

Generally, Orangutan reactions to rain are similar to human reactions, in that they prefer to stay dry! You can often spot adult orangutans using large leaves as make-shift umbrellas while they wait for the rain to pass. However, for the Care Center’s younger orangutans, rainy season is the best season! They just can’t resist splashing around in the flooded forest floor.

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Tommy is notorious for his puddle play-times. When he is on release in the forest just after a rain, everyone knows to steer clear of this muddy boy if you want to stay dry.

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A common sighting during rainy season is the “full-body mud bath”. Turbo is a big fan of this natural Borneo spa service!

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Ulexa ( above left) and Charlie are also big fans of the full-body mud bath. Ulexa will go for several splashing frolics through the biggest puddles she can find, while Charlie prefers to sit for a relaxing soak.

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In the height of rainy season, the fires from the last dry season seem a distant memory. Rain in Central Borneo brings countless benefits to the forest that both human and animal alike can enjoy. However, dry season will begin again and OFI staff will continue to adapt and prepare for Borneo’s ever changing weather!

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