Wildlife and Nature 2020
Dilla Djalil Daniel
THE FOREST ORPHANAGE
Animals in the wild can and do benefit from compassionate and loving intervention by humans. The people involved are often rather under appreciated but it does not affect their devotion and passion in helping their charges by trying to improve their welfare and health. The relationship between animals and humans is complex even if there is a dependency with domesticated animals, in contrast with animals in the wild whose existence is threatened by human presence or activities.
In this photo essay I present a story about orangutans. Orangutans are unique animals which only exist in the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia. In my language, orangutan means “forest man”.
Orangutans are critically endangered species and they share 97% identical DNA like us the human beings. They are under intense ecological pressure since their populations in sharp decline. They spend 95% of their time high above the canopy. Sadly humans destroy their natural habitat, clear their rainforest for agriculture, hunt orangutan mothers and steal their cute babies for illegal pet trade. As a result there are too many baby orphan orangutans around.
At an orangutan rehabilitation centre in Ketapang, West Kalimantan, I observed innumerable orphaned orangutans of all ages in a secure and peaceful environment. They are being coached to learn how to survive and live in the way they should be; free and independent in the protected rainforest. They are taught to climb, built nests and to find food. When they are ready, they are released back into carefully selected forest areas with the hope that they can lead a free and independent life. It will take some years (between eight to ten years) before these infants are ready to live independently in their natural habitat.