Orangutan Offers A Helping Hand: A Lesson In Kindness For Mankind

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Anil Prabhakar, a geologist, had posted a very interesting picture on his Instagram page. In it, an Orangutan was seemingly reaching out his hand to help a man wading in a chest-deep pond. Users of the platform received the image very warmly and it soon went viral. Anil gave a caption in which he pointed that animals still have no qualms about helping others. He continued that when humanity loses touch with kindness, animals are the ones who remind us of the basic values in life.

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The incident took place in a facility for Orangutans in Borneo. Anil was touring the facility in East Kalimantan’s Samboja. The facility is under the management of the BOSF (a Borneo foundation working for Orangutan Survival)

The “Help” From The Orangutan

CNN covered the incident and interviewed Anil. He said that the person in the picture is the warden of the facility. On the day, snakes were reported in the area. Thus, the warden had come over to clear the snakes. At that moment, he saw the kind occurrence. He saw the orangutan approach the man and then hold out his hand for him.


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A post shared by Anil T Prabhakar (@anil_t_prabhakar)

To Anil, it seemed like the animal was asking if he could help the warden in any way. He continued that he wasted no time in immortalizing the event. He found it very emotional.

Jamartin Sihite, the BOSF’s CEO, confirmed the incident did take place and provided further details. The curious moment took place in a facility managed by the BOSF on the number 6 island. A female orangutan named Anih lives there. She was 25 years old at the time.

Jamartin, in his interview, expressed his happiness at seeing such a positive response to the picture from the public. He said that seeing this picture is sure to make us wonder if wild animals have more kindness in them for human beings than we have for them. He gave the statement to Jakarta Post.

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He confirmed that the man who is getting the help is named Syahrul, a BOSF employee. He also stated that Syahrul and Anih have been together since as far back as the 1990s. Anih had been given over to the facility’s care by someone during that decade. Jamartin explained that Syahrul was the one who was performing the clearing duty in the image.

We Need To Help The Orangutan More

He continued that, in the image, it may look like Anih was trying to help Syahrul. However, he adds, that their experience points to a different reason. Namely, that it may have just been Anih wanting something to eat from Syahrul. He explains that this indicates how dependent the animals have become on humans.

Romeo and Anih can no longer survive in complete freedom on their own in the dense forests. Their skills to do so have never been taught. The two were very young when they faced separation from their life-givers. Ever since then they have been reliant on humans for their food and other needs.


Island number 6 is only one among all the islands that BOSF manages. The island is allocated to rescued orangutans that cannot survive without external care in the wild. The area is known as an “island” as it is surrounded by trenches that are five meters in width. They have a depth of two meters and are always water-filled. Romeo is the male orangutan that Anih stays with. He is 34 years old and was rescued from Taiwan. The two orangutans have about a one-hectare area for themselves.

Jamartin concluded by saying that these animals belong in their natural habitat, regardless of how helpful they may appear. So the proper thing to do is work on preserving their real homes. Let us try to be a bit kinder in return.

Featured Image Credit: Anil T. Prabhakar

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