Orangutan in Borneo

The Orangutans are on what appears to be an island with a trench around it to keep people out, and as they play happily and eat the scattered food, I spot the largest of them all sitting quietly on his own and make my way across to him.

I stand with camera poised, waiting for the perfect shot. The large Orangutan has his back to me at first, but I am close enough to talk to him and hope that he will hear me. I move my hand with the camera to my side, watching as he starts to slowly turn around. He shifts from side to side until he is in a comfortable position and faces me. His reddish hair shines bright with a healthy glow in the sun, and while I hope he will come out from the opening so I can see him fully, he seems content to stay perched up against the wall. He looks straight at me, and I start to take some pictures. His eyes looking straight into the camera, dark eyes that have a sadness in them, and yet, you just can’t help but fall in love with such a creature.

I put the camera down once again, looking with a huge smile at this beautiful being in front of me, talking to him. Smile for me darling, please, I ask with a beaming smile, as I start to click away again. Repeating myself in the hope that he understands what I am saying, lifting the camera clicking away, trying to let him know I am looking for that one perfect photograph.

Finally, he starts to smile. Yes, I think to myself, maybe he does understand me after all. Why not, he looks intelligent, and while cameras are probably pointing at him day after day, I feel sure that few people actually talk to him like he can understand. To me he seems almost human, as he smiles pleasantly into the camera and I smile back as I zoom in and take the perfect shot.

In the finished picture it looks as though his hair has been combed and arranged around his face, and his appearance is neat and tidy. I look at that face, smiling at me in such a way that I would love to be able to give him a giant hug and say, thank you.

Picture taken by Susan Walsh

Susan Walsh

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