Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I love orangutans.

Zoos are tough and sometimes sad but now necessary for breeding programs for endangered species. My nephew loves animals (actually obsessed is more accurate!) so we take him to the zoo. I saw a woman once, reading a picture book to an orangutan at the L.A. Zoo. She sat on one side of this huge acrylic window, and the orangutan sat on the other. (The rest of the enclosure is open air.) Though they had a window between them, they sat on the ground, only a couple of feet apart.

She told me that she went at least once a week and sat with a book at the window and this same orangutan would see her, come over and sit and watch her and the illustrations in her books. They have this relationship going. As she told me this, the orangutan looked at me and then back to her reading buddy, patiently awaiting the rest of story time. If I didn't already love orangutans, this sealed the deal.

Orangutans are found in two places on the planet ... Borneo and Sumatra. With the destruction of tropical rain forests (both legal and illegal), fires, as well as using them for bushmeat, these beautiful creatures have become endangered. To find out more, you can go to Orangutan Foundation International.

Orangutan graphite on paper 2007

"Only if we understand can we care.
Only if we care will we help.
Only if we help shall they be saved."
~Jane Goodall


Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Beautiful story...the weekly reads. I have a soft spot for them too...or like your nephew, all anaimals!

erin said...

in high school we took a field trip to hear Jane Goodall speak in Chicago...i love her so much! afterwards she was standing on the street hailing a cab...i was too shy to ask her for her autograph....love the story of reading to the orangutan. zoos make me sad though :0(

ArtSparker said...

A beautiful drawing and accompanying story. I love that this woman read aloud to the orangutan. I used to read aloud to my boyfriend's son at bedtime, and the cat always had to sit on the bed to listen. There's a feeling of participation or communion, I think.