A Conversation for Orangutans
Close encounter with an Orangutan
weapons of maths instruction Started conversation May 4, 2003
It was in the park outside of Kuching, Sarawak. I was in a party of 'Orang spotters' and our guides left us to our own devices while they chatted and had their tea. Before we got there the taxi driver had said 'Watch out for Bonzo - he's really bad' Hmm very cryptic. Anyway we all wandered around the site and suddenly someone spotted this smallish male Orang coming towards us. Everybody in the party took a rapid exit stage right and left but I had put down roots and stayed frozen on the spot. With incredible speed, Bonzo (I assumed) was right on me. Everybody was yelling at the keeper who was either deaf or choosing to ignore us. A yell in English must have the same meaning even to a Malay.
Bonzo looked around briefly and then his arm came around my neck. He grabbed at a chain I was wearing and then he pulled my head down towards his (He was about 2 - 3 foot tall). As my life flashed before me I was amazed at how incredibly strong this little guy was.
While holding my head he put his other arm inside my t-shirt and travelled down until his leathery finger found my naval (I have an 'innie') and he rooted around in there for a bit. I should add that I can't stand anybody touching my naval, never mind an orang!
After what seemed like a lifetime and with the rest of the party wetting themselves with laughter, Bonzo let me go and ran after somebody else. He then seemed to get bored with us all and ran off to get a banana and climbed up one of the tall trees to eat it.
Overall I would have to say he was amazingly gentle, incredibly strong but, not being an expert in Orang behaviour, my greatest fear was just not knowing what he was going to do next.
I gathered later from other tourist stories that I had gotten off lightly - one girl lost her bra! I also had a feeling that the guides or guards actively encouraged this behaviour as a tourist 'feature'. I was very pleased I didn't have my encounter with Bonzo's dad 'Mike' who was mercifully in his cage during this incident. He had the full jowels of a mature male and weighed about 400 pounds at a guess.
Next, if your interested I'll tell you about my close encounter with a camel!
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