In Borneo, Indonesia, where palm oil plantations have destroyed nearly 40% of the jungles, a wild orangutan was quick to offer aid to a man who was wading through snake-infested waters. The touching encounter was captured by amateur photographer Anil Prabhakar.
According to AZFamily, Prabhakar was on a safari with friends at a conservation forest run by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS) when he witnessed the scene. The photo below shows one of the island’s critically endangered apes extending a hand to help a man out of unsafe water.
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Prabhakar told CNN: “There was a report of snakes in that area so the warden came over and he’s clearing snakes.”
“I saw an orangutan come very close to him and just offer him his hand.”
Prabhakar explained it was difficult for the guard to move in the muddy water. It seemed as if the orangutan was saying “May I help you”? to the man, he said.
“I really wasn’t able to click,” he said. “I never expected something like that.”
“I just grabbed that moment. It was really emotional.”
Orangutans are well aware of Borneo’s venomous snakes. “You could say snakes are their biggest enemy,” said Prabhakar, a geologist from Kerala in India.
In total, the encounter lasted about four minutes. After the guard moved away from the ape and climbed out of the water, the photographer asked why he moved away. The guard replied, “They’re completely wild, we don’t know how they’ll react.'”
The orangutan is Asia’s only great ape found in Borneo and Sumatra. Approximately 10% are found in Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia reports the BOS Foundation. Over the past three generations, the orangutan population has declined by more than 80%. If humans fail to take action and implement sustainable technologies, the critically endangered species could go extinct.
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