Heartwarming Moment as Orangutan Extends Helping Hand to Rescuer from River

Heartwarming Moment as Orangutan Extends Helping Hand to Rescuer from River

A photographer captured a touching moment when a monkey reached out its hand to assist a forest guardian while he was catching snakes in a river. This heartwarming photograph forces us to reevaluate the beauty of this endangered animal species and our responsibility as humans in their conservation efforts.

For Anil T. Prabhakar, photography is a passion. He explained to The Epoch Times, “I enjoy capturing adorable moments in the lives of wild animals without disturbing them or their natural habitats.”

In September 2019, Prabhakar had the opportunity to capture this heartwarming moment during a visit to the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) conservation area in Indonesia.

Prabhakar explained that the primary role of the nonprofit organization’s wildlife guardians is to clean the river and report the presence of any venomous snakes or meat-eating animals. Snakes pose the biggest threat to the survival of orangutans in this conservation area, so any venomous snakes found are either killed or relocated.

While walking, Prabhakar noticed a guardian plunging into the muddy water to carry out his task. As Prabhakar observed, a female monkey slowly moved closer to the riverbank, watching the guardian catch snakes, and he managed to capture some close-up shots.

After a while, the guardian seemed to get stuck in the mud. Prabhakar recalls, “He was trying to free his leg and wanted to go further, and suddenly the female monkey, which was quietly observing like an audience, stood up, approached closer, and extended a hand towards the guardian.”

Their silent interaction lasted for a few minutes. Prabhakar lamented that the guardian did not grab the monkey’s hand; instead, he moved elsewhere.

Prabhakar recounted, “I was really surprised by this sudden, sweet gesture from the monkey. Ironically, we, humans, are destroying their habitats, yet they are helping us.”

Prabhakar had the opportunity to speak with the guardian after he emerged from the water. The guardian explained that he did not grasp the monkey’s hand because it was still “wild,” and therefore, its reaction was unpredictable.

Prabhakar shared his touching photo of the monkey and its outstretched hand on Instagram in January 2020 with the caption, “Let me help you?” The photo garnered thousands of likes and quickly spread across news outlets and social media.

BOSF’s conservation forest is a rehabilitation space for orangutans rescued from deforestation, hunting, and habitat loss since 1991. After being rehabilitated and released, these critically endangered species are returned to the wilds of the Borneo rainforest.

At the time of writing, the organization cares for 650 orangutans, and there are only about 104,700 Bornean orangutans left in the wild.

Prabhakar believes that we should see the monkey’s extraordinary gesture as a reminder of our own selfishness and that what sets humans apart from animals is “the power of reasoning and an inherent attribute called ‘humanity.'”

The photographer explained to The Epoch Times, “I still believe this is the ultimate, right hope for mankind. That is the important ideological element behind my widely acclaimed post across the globe.”

Nhat Dang