Orang-Utan

Wed, 2012-10-17 15:05
Monday
15. October 2012
Through the rubber plantations where the mosquitoes breed in the little cups that catch the rubber milk dripping from the trees, suddenly we reach the border of the national park, a green wall of foliage, lianas, shrubs, a wall coloured in shades of green. The path becomes wet, slippery and muddy, and in many places is just the bed of small streams now without water.
For an hour we climb and slide, keeping our balance by gasping wet slimy trunks and lianas, avoiding large ants and thorns. The calls of monkeys set accents to the continuous background song of the cicadae, and a few times we are able to see a long moving tail in tree top, or even the silhouette of a Thomas monkey jumping from tree to tree. After an hour we suddenly meet them, a mother with her baby, lured by the fresh fruit our guides have brought. At first there is just a ball of red long hair, with arms sticking out at strange angles, dangling head down from a branch. Then you see the face and the eyes, old, wise eyes. With grace and an almost sad expression the Orang-Utan takes the fruits from our hands, then slowly climbs to the top of the tree. The little baby, barely three months old, zips around his mother, up and down the branches, as if it wanted to show how good it can climb already.
On our way back to civilization we meet another pair, again with the sad, painful look in their eyes. Do they know they are an endangered species, with barely a few thousand left, their natural habitats threatened by the growth of the palm oil plantations? Do they pity us in our multifunctional shirts and sneaker shoes? Or is it just (again) the application of human measure to animal behaviour and expression, non-objective observation and interpretation of something we don’t really understand?

Location

Bohorok
Indonesia
3° 55' 13.8756" N, 98° 22' 22.9692" E