20 January, 2015

The intimate ape: orangutans and the secret life of a vanishing species by Shawn Thompson [Christine, Takapuna]

Like Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, Birute Galdikas immersed herself in the world of a great ape.  In her case she studied orangutans in Borneo for fifteen  years.  Orangutans are every bit as interesting, intelligent and deft as the other apes. They tend to be solitary creatures but do form friendships between themselves and with humans. They have personalities and preferences, to study them requires the researcher to gain their cooperation.   Some have been taught sign language. Some have learned to turn keys in locks, paddle boats, paint walls...  Their applied intelligence is both a joy and a challenge to people working with them.

The human impact on orangutans is huge, they are now in danger of extinction. Their jungle home is shrinking, they are killed when they raid human crops and orangutan infants are stolen for pets.

This book also introduces the practical dilemmas of how to 're-wild' orangutans who have lived with humans until they were rescued, and what, if any, legal rights we give creatures that are so like us.

Title: The intimate ape: orangutans and the secret life of a vanishing species
Author: Shawn Thompson
Publisher: Citidel Press
Date: 2010
ISBN: 9780806531335

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