You’ve probably seen the little excerpts of Orangutan Jungle School on YouTube (or elsewhere.) If you haven’t, they’re awesome, and worth watching.
Here’s a fairly representative example.
But basically, people doing orangutan rescue are doing a lot of filming what goes on with their six-hundred-ish (!) rescued orangutans, with a little bit of Jane-Goodall-style drama. It’s “jungle school” because there are veterinarian/therapist-type people training the young orangutans in basic orangutan survival skills.
I was watching one of their dramatised but, I assume, based-on-truth episodes and it struck me that a lot of the footage that they get pretty much requires that the narration be, uh, stretched truth. For starters, there have to be far more people walking around with cameras than we can see, even with good zoom lenses. Also, many of the situations they mention are only surprising if those people with cameras really never mention that anything odd is going on with an orangutan, even while taking lots of extra footage of all the dramatic moments.
So, basically, I’m watching ape soap operas.
Once I realised that, a great weight lifted. I had felt a little odd watching so much not-really-true semi-documentaries about orangutans while trying to feel educated by it.
But I’m, like, 200% okay with just watching orangutan soap operas because that’s awesome.
Now I just need a way to buy the full episodes, which is harder than you’d think in the UK.