Siswi - Another Camp Leakey Character

Last week Brigitta asked me to give her regards to Siswi.  Unfortunately, I have not managed to get out of the office (hence this week’s blog, which has been more about individual orangutan histories than actual news from the field!).  However, I thought I would tell all of you about her because, like Kusasi, she is one of Camp Leakey’s characters.  Most visitors to Camp meet her and she’s pretty noticeable.   Siswi

Siswi has a distinctive gait, a unique habit of lying on her back holding her feet and, if there is a male around, she’s almost guaranteed to put in a show. 

 Siswi - Camp Leakey 2

People may consider her “rotund” but that does not appear to diminish her sex-appeal; she frequently consorts (the name given to the temporary male – female pairings, when a female is in season) with Tom, whereas a few year’s ago, she was definitely Kusasi’s girl.  Indeed, without trying to keep going on about the film “Kusasi: From Orphan to King” there is a delightful scene where Siswi is rolling along in front of Kusasi as he walks through the forest.   


What made Siswi famous from the outset was that she was the first ever offspring of a rehabilitated orangutan at Camp Leakey.  Siswoyo was released by Biruté Galdikas in 1975.  On the 9th of September 1978 she gave birth to Siswi, evidence that once-captive orangutans can return to the wild.  Because of this, the first release camp in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve is called Camp Siswoyo.   

Attached is Siswoyo’s family tree.  My apologies that the text appears to have jumped inside the boxes; I am no-one’s idea of a graphic designer! You may need to click on the family tree to read it.

Sisiwoyo Family Tree