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Natural World: Orangutans – the Great Escape

Sat Oct 5, 7.30-8.30pm, BBC2

When re-establishing orangutans in the wild, money should be no object. After all, as Lona who works for the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation puts it: ‘We took their homes away. We killed their mothers.’

However, in practicality, it’s not quite as simple as that; these socialised orangs have learnt too much about dependency to find the going easy, however much money is thrown at them; along the way, one particularly accident-prone ape sucks stones thinking they’re nuts, sleeps on the ground (making himself an easy target for predators) and tries to eat a wasps’ nest. And, while Lona and her helpers are around to intervene, Emen the orangutan is a big lad and sometimes doesn’t understand when someone’s trying to help him. And all this is basically our fault. Plus ça change, right?

Fortunately, this film – which was first shown last night – has a happy ending, so for now we’re off the hook.