FACE TO FACE WITH NATURE, IAN JARRETT WONDERS WHAT THE ANIMALS MUST THINK OF US
One of my most recent animal adventures was at Semenggoh Wildlife Centre in Sarawak, Borneo, where endangered orangutans are rehabilitated. We waited in the forest for the orangutans to appear. On this day they were not hungry enough to be bothered with the fruit salad waiting in their treetop café.
The humans became fidgety, some making ape-like noises in a futile attempt to persuade the orangutans down from their green canopy. The orangutans meanwhile were no doubt giggling at the idiots on the forest floor. You could imagine them whispering, “We’ve got a right bunch of loonies to keep us amused today.”
We returned to the rangers’ station. Suddenly, several orangutans dropped down from the trees.
A male cheekily made for a rubbish bin and a half-smoked cigarette. With a great flourish, he took a huge puff and blew smoke rings into the air. We all laughed. The rangers were furious. This was not the man-meets-beast encounter we were supposed to have. It made me think about whether it was the orangutans or the humans who were the better behaved.
My companions, weighed down with cameras and lenses and dressed in designer travel garb, must have presented a motley crew. Several pushy types crowded forward to get the “perfect” camera shot. The orangutans seemed to take it in their huge strides. Right down to the impressions, they’d clearly turned up to be amused by these bizarre humans. And here were we, thinking it was the other way around.
Source: Mandala Magazine