Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Great Apes - A Fate of Our Making. BORNEO ... revisited.

A fabled world, of mythical beings.

And so it is.

It is also poignant ... stirring, uplifting yet painful. 

Nineteen months since my first emotional glimpse of an Orangutan in this living Eden, I was returning to Borneo ... more educated, and humbled by the daunting task that lay ahead for humanity...

Can we Save the Great Apes?

Great Apes are a family of primates in Africa and Asia - Chimpanzees, Bonobos, Gorillas and Orangutans

This photo and news, at International Animal Rescue 

Great Apes are in serious danger of extinction from habitat loss, poachingwildlife trade, and human conflict.

Orangutans are disappearing, with the relentless growth of the timber, paper, and Palm Oil industries.


Studies by IUCNWWF, CITES, UN-GRASP, indicate that Palm Oil is so ubiquitous today .. from body products and packaged foods to biofuels .. that its cultivation has resulted in vast rainforest destruction and greenhouse emissions.

Forest fires, set to clear rainforest, destroy orangutan habitat killing many of these gentle, arboreal creatures.

This horrific incident, a day after I left Pontianak, elicited an unperturbed response from a local I texted. I quote:  "We usually hear and see the news from tv, it's not shock to us b'cause the goverment and company did it to open palm trees garden and so the people can get a job (for money n profit) that can make our country grow..."

When a great ape's life is less valuable than a fruit tree ...
the need for a socio-cultural-economic shift becomes apparent

The human need for survival and personal advancement cannot be ignored ... rather, it might be the key to saving the Great Apes of the world. 

I had traversed Sarawak, Sabah and Kalimantan... it was the human condition that struck me as most pressing.

These are communities, just like ours back home, with dreams and aspirations

Green Economy, Global Technology

The fabled Great Apes ... need a 21st century Green Economy.

Sustainable alternatives must be provided to people, else they will remain enslaved to globalized resource exploitation. Leading world technologies for human empowerment, with 'Green' economic opportunities, should offer direct incentives to protect nature.

I would humbly ask world organizations to help alongside current initiatives such as REDDThe Green Economy must include every person.

  1. Technology must be leveraged for global alternatives to timber, pulp and palm oil from rainforests.
  2. We must assist Great Ape nations adopt a Green Economy - where technological investments will 'reduce carbon emissions and pollution, enhance energy and resource efficiency, and prevent the loss of biodiversity' as defined by the UNEP
  3. Conservation technologies - forest management, satellite GPS monitoring in environmental protection, solar, sustainable farming, computerized networks, mobile devices - must be funded by wealthy nations, to advance employment and preservation. 
  4. Mobile money is transforming Africa already. A mobile app should create a 'Green Guardians' network of accredited nationals, with e-payment remunerations from state and abroad.
  5. Payments to locals for ecotourism and green biospheres must be economic incentives, in exchange for becoming a part of conservation technology and habitat protection.

Technology, with its effect on a society's economics, must save the Great Apes.

They need us .. we must understand them - and become a part of them



  1. We all need to be aware of the plight of the Great Apes, our ancestors and an intricate part of the eco system. Your photographs are very compelling and tell a beautiful story of our intelligent friends who are being threatened by mans incessant need to destroy life, all in the name of material gain, and not with the fore sight of generations to come.
    Please keep up the good work in keeping the masses aware of what's happening to our Mother...EARTH.

  2. This is an extremely educating post as it helps those remote to understand the nature of the issues on the ground and point to a possible way forward for sustainably saving the Great Apes as well as the progress of the people surrounding their dwindling habitat. The photos are awesome!

  3. While Russians are trying to clone a mammoth, living species are threatened. We live in the past, because, at this pace, there is no future....

    1. Agreed, on many levels. Perhaps they should concentrate on cloning the most endangered species TODAY while the rest of the world (I wish) works on saving what few remain in the wild.

  4. Your photos and words are both devastating and inspiring. I am so grateful for people like you who see a problem and tackle head on, no matter how daunting it may seem. I hope that I will soon be able to help you win this fight. You are courageous in you endeavors; I support you 110%!

  5. I'm from Borneo, i lived not far from the burned orangutan location. Please save Our orang Utan. Civilian keep burning forests for their ricefield. It's why many orangutans run to residential.they need food. they need forest. It's a shameful thing for us because we kill the endemic one. we hunt 'em down. there is a company that does not care about orangutans here. they killed every orang utan who trespassed their plantation area.

    Thank you.
    Regards, Oncy.

  6. Thank you for taking this on as your passion and mission...we need people like you that can travel to distant places. Your photographs and films bring the rest of us with you and educate us about matters to which we turn a blind eye. Your photographs are beautiful and some terribly disturbing. Please keep disturbing us and schooling us about places and issues that are not in the media.

  7. Incredible pictures and words! Good to see someone doing something for these incredible animals!! Keep up the good work!

  8. Thanks for your work and for not just focusing on the heart-rending but also not giving in to despair.

  9. I don’t get how is that we are thinking we are better than other species… all we do is damage… we cannot keep living like this… we have got to understand that all the species have an irreplaceable roll. This blog it is really helpful for it…

  10. Amazing pictures! Just loved it. I hope that people can see the nature in a different way in the future. We need it, this makes our world so wonderful. Good job!

  11. Love your work, really beautiful and inspiring. Your photos capture a devastating reality but at the same time are just wonderful.

  12. You are being the change we want to see around us.



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