Natural World

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Red Ape: Saving the Orangutan

Series 37 - Episode 4 Red Ape: Saving the Orangutan



This Natural World documentary, first shown last year, is not one of those touchy-feely wildlife films: it’s a tough watch. There are distressing scenes of orangutans – such handsome, relatable apes, – chained up by wildlife traffickers or clinging to the very last tree in an area entirely flattened by loggers. 

By way of contrast, we follow the efforts of International Animal Rescue, a Borneo charity that rescues and relocates orangutans to areas of virgin forest – a few of which remain, despite a football-field’s worth being destroyed, we are told, every 47 seconds. Vast plantations of oil palm trees are the problem, of course. But from cosmetics to foodstuffs, palm oil is everywhere.


For the last decade, a team of frontline medics has been fighting to save Borneo's critically endangered orangutans. Armed with cameras, the members of International Animal Rescue have documented their struggle as they pull apes from devastated jungles, give emergency medical care, rehabilitate and release the healthiest orangutans back into the wild. This documentary tells both the story of their work and how the orangutan - one of man's closest wild relatives - has been pushed to the brink of extinction.

Cast & Crew

Narrator Ivanno Jeremiah
Director Rowan Musgrave
Executive Producer Alex Williamson
Series Editor Roger Webb
Documentary Nature