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Animal Planet HD World presents ‘Meet the Orangutans’

MUMBAI: In its new series ‘Meet The Orangutans’, Animal Planet HD World is offering a window into the extraordinary daily drama of the world’s oldest Orangutan Sanctuary, Sepilok in Malaysia.

The premiere high-definition wildlife channel puts stories, both human and animal, at its heart to reveal the character of this species.

Filmed in the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo’s tip, Sepilok is the last remaining oasis of tropical rainforest, and home to no less than 50 of these ‘people of the forest’ at any one time.

The series follows the apes from their arrival as tiny orphaned babies to their triumphant release back into the wild as young adults. From babies being bottle-fed and wearing nappies, to teenagers being taught how to climb trees, and wounded Orangutans arriving at the sanctuary needing urgent veterinary care, there is never a dull moment.

The show kicks off on Animal Planet HD World on 22 February and will air Monday to Thursday at 10 pm.

The show follows the lives of residents (orangutans) including Peanut, Beryl, Chiquita and Gelison, as they learn the crucial survival skills necessary for their eventual release. Then there’s the teenagers who aren’t quite as innocent and eager to learn – whether it’s weigh-ins, forest school or feeding time, there’s always the opportunity to pick locks, mug tourists, steal tools…or just hang around plotting the next heist.

The human carers, led by Susan (Sue) Sheward, founder and chairperson from the Orangutan Appeal UK, are every bit as colourful too, and the jury’s still out on who rules the roost – the staff or the apes.

On top of the day-to-day madness, primatologist, James Robins – who heads the charity’s ground breaking research project, operating out of little more than a shack and living on tinned food for months at a time – will assess just how adaptable, how extraordinarily intelligent, and how much like humans these gifted creatures really are. James overseas a range of intelligence tests, that would stump some humans, displaying their brilliant ruses for getting one over on the visiting tourists, and their whole system of communication.

Uncovering facts about their psychology and biology, the show reveals how much like us these animals really are.

Due to commercial logging and illegal hunting, the orangutan is an endangered species. With the dwindling numbers just one little orangutan can make a lot of difference.