As a lover of orangutans (I adopt one and I’ve visited his home at Sepilok in Borneo) I found this book both deeply disturbing and immensely uplifting.
Disturbing, because it’s painful to think that, in pursuit of wealth, we have such disregard for nature and, in particular, these intelligent creatures. Uplifting, because it’s good to know there are people out there (the Ape Crusaders) who are prepared to take action and do something about it.
Written, and partly photographed, by Sean Whyte, one of the world’s leading campaigners on behalf of Orangutan protection, the book follows the work of the Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP) as they carry out their work throughout Indonesian Borneo. The book begins by explaining the financial and political reasons why Orangutans find themselves at threat. And while it doesn’t go too in-depth in this sense, the introduction coupled with the stunning, but sometimes harrowing, photography surely makes all but the cold-hearted want to find out more in order to protect these beautiful creatures.
The breath-taking photography is captivating, as it follows the COP on their various rescue and educational visits. Some of the stories are happy, others tragic. But there is something magical in the way that these photos are shot, which captures the plight of these creatures. The fact that we share 97% of our DNA with Orangutans is made obvious by the expressions on their faces and their body language – from the hugs of those relieved to have been rescued, to the wide-eyed distant stares of those for whom it’s too late – it’s all here, warts and all. The COP battle through mud, politics, greed and lack of education in their missions – but still, they persevere.
This book will make you smile, it might even make you cry and it will, more than likely, get you checking the ingredients of your shopping for palm oil.
Fabulous rating: 5/5
Fancy a read? Buy The Ape Crusaders here.