Great Elephant Gathering, The
NATURE & WILDLIFE
eyes of the orangutan
‘Eyes of the Orangutan’ takes you on a journey into the dark heart of the wildlife tourism industry, where Aaron Gekoski discover’s the Orangutan’s part in this multi-billion-dollar industry.
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Terra Mater Factual Studios / Chris Scarffe Film and Photography Production
Episode InformationEvery year, millions of people travel the world to get their fix of the cute, the cuddly, and the charismatic. We take our families to zoos, ride on the back of elephants, visit dolphin shows at aquariums, and watch animals perform tricks at circuses. Wildlife Tourism is a global, multi-billion-dollar industry. But these profits don’t come without costs. In front of our eyes, and behind closed doors, lie stories of abuse and cruelty. ‘Eyes of the Orangutan’ takes you on a journey into the dark heart of this industry where Aaron Gekoski and his colleagues and friends undertake a four-year investigation to discover the part the orangutan’s play. In Thailand, orangutans are forced into grotesque boxing shows, and others kept in dirty cages at the top of shopping malls. In Indonesia, they are on display at lavish breakfast buffets, and crowded by tourists at National Parks. Poachers reveal the shocking truth of how the orangutan’s end up at these attractions. Stolen from their natural habitats, their mothers killed in the process and smuggled across international borders. Once at their final destination, they are trained to perform using cruel techniques or locked in cages for the rest of their lives. Thankfully, there are groups working to mitigate this crisis. At Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, they meet local heroes who rescue and rehabilitate orangutans, ready for release back into the wild. This is a story of hope, set within the Wildlife Tourism industry.