Thursday, 25 October 2012

Man of the Forest

Orangutan means "Man of the Forest" in Malay.

They were our main motivation for organising this trip to Borneo.

They are so like us in their mannerisms and they display exactly the same emotions as we do. Well why wouldn't they? We share a staggering 96.4% of our genetic profile with them.

Like so many of our beautiful creatures, Orangutans in Borneo are seriously endangered.

At the hands of man once more.

Maybe this is our last chance to see them in the wild.

1000's of miles of beautiful indigenous rain forest has been systematically burnt down to make way for huge Palm Oil plantations.

It was distressing to drive past nothing but palm trees for hundreds of miles.

Palm trees are useless to Orangutans and many other primates birds and animals. So many are killed as the rain forest is clear felled and burnt to the ground.

Shame on you Nestle, one of the biggest users of Palm oil. It sickens me even more that Nestle try to smokescreen their involvement in this industry by setting up a charity to "Save the Rain forest". What kind of perverted PR is that?

A lucky few are thankfully rescued and often in a most traumatised state, they are taken to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.

Stunning rain forest ....as Mother Nature intended

.....destroyed by man

.............. a homeless, fruitless wasteland

Palm trees are not native to Borneo

......a lucky few are rescued
Sepilok is a treasure. The Orangutans are properly cared for but are encouraged to remain as wild as possible in order to re-introduce them back to the wild one day.

Sepilok has become such a hit with Orangutans that wild ones regularly wander in for a feed and a bit of a social get together and many of the rehabiliated ones choose never to leave.

The wild Orangutan are never turned away as they teach the rescued babies proper Orangutan behaviour. Baby Orangutans are the most heart melting, most human-like babies I have ever seen and the maternal feelings I had towards them was overwhelming.

This time, we were so lucky on our visit to encounter Ringo.

Ringo is 24 years old and a wild, strong alpha male. It is only the second time this year that he has come to the reserve.

He was awesome, in the true sense of that word.








My "Man of the Forest" lol!
As Ringo approaches, my jaw drops. Wow, he is one impressive hulk of a male.

The ranger retreats. Ringo will not come if he is there. Even though Ringo is 4 times stronger than a man, his fear of man is sadly imprinted.

He knows we are there but we are on a viewing platform some distance away and over time he has learnt that people on the platform are no threat and he just ignores us.

The other male Orangutans bid a hasty retreat. He is the dominant Alpha and he will not tolerate other males at his table.

Only females remain.

He checks out one female to see if she is ready for mating. That was rather intimate viewing I have to say, their behaviour is almost identical to ours so I will leave that to your imagination!

She was not ready but he decided she could share his table anyway. She was very deferant and mirrored his movements exactly as a show of respect and subservience.

Fascinating.

The other females danced and swung around him to attract his attention but they were ignored.

They sneakily grabbed pieces of fruit when he wasn't looking.

Ringo occasionally got up to look around him should any other male have the affrontery to come near.

Moving, emotional and incredible.

Worth coping will all of my 23 mossie bites for and the other bumpy rides on this trip.

I hope this moves you to help them, they can't do this on their own and if it does, you can do it by clicking here.

 

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