Animal videos have been putting smiles on people’s faces for a long time, but this special encounter between man and animal captured by a photographer in Borneo has gone viral and is warming hearts all over the world.
Amateur photographer Anil Prabhakar witnessed and captured the moment when the Indonesian island’s critically endangered species- the ape stretched its hand out to help rescue a man from snake-infested waters.
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Prabhakar was on a safari with friends at a conservation forest run by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS) when he saw the incident unfold before his eyes. He said, “There was a report of snakes in that area so the warden came over and he’s clearing snakes.” He added, “I saw an orangutan come very close to him and just offer him his hand.”
Prabhakar said the place was muddy with flowing water, and it seemed like 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.” He added, “I just grabbed that moment. It was really emotional.”
The conservation forest protects these critically endangered species from hunters and habitat destruction till they are let out in the wild. Poisonous snakes threaten Borneo’s orangutans, which also face threat from forest fires, habitat loss and hunting.
“You could say snakes are their biggest enemy,” said Prabhakar, a geologist from Kerala in India. When the guard moved away from the ape and climbed out of the water, Prabhakar asked him why he did so, “He said, ‘they’re completely wild, we don’t know how they’ll react.'” Prabhakar said of the incident, “I’m so happy that moment happened to me,” he said. The image has been liked 15,000 times on Instagram till now.
The orangutan is Asia’s only great ape and is predominantly found in Borneo and Sumatra in Indonesia, with the remaining 10% found in Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia, according to the BOS foundation. They also reproduce very slowly, according to BOS. A female will only give birth every six to eight years in the wild. It is estimated that the Bornean orangutan population has decreased by more than 80% within the past three generations.
Proverbs 12:10 “A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.”