Sad and Rare Death of a Baby Orangutan Killed by a Pig.

Tragedy struck us again this week with the news from Camp Leakey, in Tanjung Puting National Park, that Tut, a female orangutan, had her two-year old baby killed by a pig. It appears the pig and orangutans were near to each other in Camp when the pig turned and snapped at Tiido, catching the young orangutan around the head. One bite was enough. Tut immediately picked him up and when the assistants rushed over they could see Tiido was still alive but, within an hour, he was lying limp in his mother’s arms.

I am afraid I don’t have a recent photo of Tiido but if you zoom in on the photo below, of Tut sitting by the tree, you can see a tiny arm across her waist. That was Tiido when he was new born.

Tut September 06

Peter’s photos show him when he was a year old. I am afraid I don’t have more recent photos.

Tut -Peter Ellen

Tut and Tiido -Peter Ellen

Tut with her beautiful baby Tiido. Photo by Peter Ellen.

Tut was released at Camp Leakey in the very early days of Biruté Galdikas' research there. Indeed, she is the mother of Tom the present “King of Camp Leakey". Tiido was her fourth son.

Tut family tree

Bornean Bearded pigs are common in this area primarily because they are omnivorous; they will eat anything. This means they can survive in a wide variety of habitats including oil palm plantations – where they are considered pests – as well as in dense forest. They tend to hang around the orangutan feeding stations so they can scavenge left-overs or dropped fruit.

Bornean Bearded Pig

Bearded Pig

They are temperamental and have been known to chase orangutans, probably in the hope the orangutan will drop the food they are carrying. In 1985 Biruté Galdikas reported a pig killing a young orangutan. But this week’s incident was the first of its kind in over 20 years.

Regarding Tiido’s death, I know people will say “that’s life; it is nature red in tooth and claw”. In my heart of hearts I agree with them. But I still feel sick and a little heartbroken (I threw a branch at the first pig I saw on Saturday).

To end on a positive note, thank you very much Maciej G. for your donation of $130. This is hugely appreciated and will go towards our new feeding system in Lamandau.