Anil Prabhakar is a nature photographer and photojournalist living in Indonesia, he went into the jungle with the hopes of finding an Orangutan but he experienced so much more.
He has always believed the power of a simple image can evoke emotion and social change.
Prabhakar said, “My way of thinking is that every photo can speak for itself, I’m more into trying to portray an emotion I can connect to.”
Prabhakar learned about the struggles of Orangutans due to deforestation which is when he decided to get involved with the ‘Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation’. In 2019, he visited the foundation to learn more about their programs and was treated to a tour of their land.
“This organization rescues orangutans from habitat loss, poachers and those being kept in captivity, they will rescue them and help them get back to the wild. They treat them if they are injured and help with the trauma they’ve faced. Then they move them to a temporary forest, where they can get used to being wild, and release them to the main forest.” he shared.
During his tour, he noticed that a crew member was getting into a small river. Prabhakar said the guards why he is going towards the Orangutans habitat to which he replied a snake had been spotted.
Prabhakar said, “Poisonous snakes are dangerous to orangutans, so they have to take care of those things,” Prabhakar said. “So, this fellow started cleaning these bushes all along the river, and it was as if he was moving in slow motion because his legs were getting stuck inside the mud.”
The man in the river seemed to have gotten stuck as he was struggling to lift his legs. However, Prabhakar wasn’t the only one to notice this, a female Orangutan who was close by observing.
Prabhakar witnessed something so heartwarming, “Suddenly, this orangutan came closer to the river banks, sat there and watched what this fellow was doing,” Prabhakar said. “When this fellow struggled to pull out his legs, the orangutan put her left hand on the bank of the river and extended her other hand towards him. It was a lovely gesture.”
However, he ignored her extended arm much to Prabhakars surprise. Once he returned to shore he asked why he ignored it to which the guard explained that he simply a “lifeguard” and must never interact with the animals. On top of this Orangutan have incredible are strength so he could’ve been hurt or worse the Orangutan could’ve lost balance and fell into the river as well.