Orangutans are one of the humans closest relative – and yet they are drawing towards extinction. And there is only one, clear thread why this is happening.
To be here, on Borneo, and helping in the research of orangutans is for me truly amazing. It’s a chance once in a life time.
I have now spent about one month here in Tuanan on Kalimantan. The jungle is just as you might expect, stunning, and the unexpected may lure behind every tree. A colorful snake, a deer or an orangutan mother, holding her playing baby with care.
On a free day, I went bird watching some with the Indonesian friend and assistant Suwi. He got a well trained eye, adapted to the poor light-conditions in the forest. We spotted many nice birds such as a nightjar and bee-eaters. He showed me some berries in the bush which we ate for some time, until the sun was burning too hard.
Later that day, just by the place where you can get phone connection, orangutan Niko snuck up behind me picking some jack-fruits from a tree. He was only 3-4 meters away! I got such an adrenaline rush, that I almost had to swear for myself! He took three huge fruits and I watched him sitting on the boardwalk eating. It was amazing! Julia came by with her camera and took some shots of us two.
Niko is famous/infamous coming up to people, sometimes very close, which might seem threatening considering his size and muscle power. When this happens, you are supposed to stay calm, just pretend that you have no clue about a huge testosterone pumped orangutan next to you. More easily said than done! However, Niko has never harmed anyone (and no orangutan has been recorded to ever harm a human in the wild), so I guess he just wants to show you who’s the boss.
Fortunately he didn’t come that close to me, but I still pretended as if I wasn’t interested of him most of the time, just to be on the safe side! Me myself only had my mobile camera, which can’t have more than 0.01 megapixels regarding the image quality it provided under decent circumstances – so no good pictures from me!
As you can see, Niko got big flanges. Flanges of orangutans are thought to be a sexual trait, represented on the dominant males. It can take very long time until a male develop flanges, long after they reach sexual maturity. The flanges make the dominant males look more intimidating and bigger. As you can see – Niko has a pretty big, plate-formed head!
I still have three months to go here, and I’m looking forward to get more close experiences with these majestic and fragile animals.
The red thread to their ongoing extinction leads to you and me. It’s due to our ignorance of what we consume. Palm oil. It’s due to our need for overconsumption. The extinction of the orangutans will be a crime of all of us, cause they are in our hands, solely depending on which road we choose.
Please, remember that you can help. Sending money to SaveTheOrangutans or WWF is important to slow down the process of extinction, and of course to hopefully stop it.
OBS! And, don’t forget: You can help me to spread and inform about the orangutans by SHARING, REBLOGGING, LIKING ETC. By spreading this to one other person, your impact and help to the orangutans will double!
Here are links to both the organisations I mentioned:
My kindest regards,