Many years ago, the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary was an open space. The tourists could walk among the orangutans and played with them. Now they are separated from tourists, which is good, coz human would spread deadly diseases to them, as both are so genetically identical.
Therefore, taking their photos (at Sepilok and Lokkawi Park) from a far distance is the only option. I was so excited to photograph them few feet away, in a photograh session organised by photographer congress (FAPA) in early December. I heard they spent thousand something to rent two orangutan as models.
Meet Marsha and Girly, both are orang-utan still at the playful age of 9 and 12 years respectively. It was fun to see them acted like pamper human baby. Looking into their eyes, and you can see that they are the clever animals that can think and have emotional. They didn’t realise what was happening and how to respond, when they were surrounded by so many photographers.
After having some banana and fruit juice, they seemed to be more relax and in good mood. They even smiled. But don’t go too near to this curious animal who likes to get their hands on anything that interests them. A few photographers was kissed by Marsha. I found that she was only interested in young male. There were a few fool wanted “monkey to climb the tree,” so they could get the shot of the year. Orang-Utan is NOT monkey.
Everyone loves this superstar of Borneo. Orangutan means “The Man of Forest,” so it also means “No Forest No Orangutan.” It is the most endangered ape in the world due to deforestation. In fact, orang-utan is the icon animal of Sabah. If they are gone, it will be a very very big discount to our tourism value. Since NRD enjoys issuing green card to foreigners. Probably they can issue MyKad IC to orangutan coz they more deserve it.
JFYI, 60% of the orangutan lives in unprotected forest. The unprotected forest would be logged or farmed (e.g. oil palm), so the orangutan there will lose their habitant. They will extinct soon, if we don’t start doing something. If we bully orangutan and make them extinct, the whole world will be very upset about us. Many countries are being pressured to go green with their product and import. I won’t be surprised if other countries ban the import of oil palm from Malaysia one day. Of course I don’t wish that happens.
There are hopes. Even children donated money to save orangutan. For conservation, for tourism, for country’s images… orangutan must live. They don’t ask much and they don’t want to be a super star, all they want is only forest and freedom.
Photos taken in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo