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Friday, March 27, 2015

I go apes over orangutans

 

Orangutans (the Malay word 'orangutan' means "person of the forest") are said to be the world's most intelligent animals other than Man (looking around me, I'd happily cross out 'other than Man' ☺). Sharing 98% of human DNA, their similarity to us is remarkable: babies cry when they are hungry, smile at their mothers and shed tears when they are hurt. They express emotions in the same way humans do - they laugh, they cry, they show surprise, joy, fear and anger.

I came face-to-face with my first orangutan in Penang in Malaysia when I worked there in 1978. This gentle little fellow sat sad and lonely in a metal cage at the foot of Penang Hill. Some locals delighted in tempting it to put its hand through the metal bars - and then press a burning cigarette into its palm! And yet, it was so lonely and so much in need of company that it continued to put its hand out in the hope of making contact with a more kindly and kindred soul.

Knowing of the orangutans' plight, I have been supporting the Orangutan Protection Foundation ever since my time in Kalimantan (the Indonesian part of Borneo). I even 'adopted' one of the little fellows.

All problems are man-made; therefore all problems can be solved by Man. So if you want to get a real buzz out of helping these wonderful creatures, go to Orangutan Protection Foundation and make a sizeable donation. Don't piss around with $5 or $10! What's a carton of beer worth these days? $50? Right! Donate the equivalent of two cartons of beer, or a hundred dollars (about 50 quid on their website), and let's both drink to having done a good deed!