Friday, 3 June 2011
Sadness (and Hope) in the Jungle
This is Miko. He is one of many orphaned orangutans being looked after at the Nyaru Menteng sanctuary, in Borneo. It's an old and sad story, I'm afraid - habitat destruction by humanity, in this case, rainforest cleared to provide land mainly for palm oil plantations, for both the food industry and also for biofuels. These gentle giants are rendered homeless in the process. A remarkable woman, Lone Droscher Nielsen, set up the sanctuary in 1999 and has, with the help of local babysitters, spent the last 12 years rearing these orphans and teaching them how to be orangutans before releasing them to safe, wild spaces to live in peace. Watch this and I dare you not to cry:
Orangs are, I think, the forgotten great ape. David Attenborough is almost speechless, watching the intelligence of this mother using tools:
It makes me very angry and ashamed to think that I might have the smallest part in killing even one of these animals. I look now at food labels in the supermarket and try not to buy anything that has palm oil in it. It's not much but I don't know what else I can do.