A National Geographic competition winner highligthing this important issue.
This critically endangered large male orangutan stares into the lens of Jayaprakash while crossing a river in Tanjung Putting National Park, Indonesia. Photograph taken by Jayaprakesh Bojan in August, winning $7500 and International recognition in the Nature Photographer Of The Year competition 2017 by National Geographic.
"I'm happy because the organgutan deserves the prize more than me."
In the Malay language, orangutan means 'Person Of The Forest' suggesting the amazing similarities we have to these primates, sharing 96.4% of our genes. These animals are under threat due to deforestation, specifically with palm oil that in more than half of packaged products in supermarkets around the world, with 90% of palm oil coming from plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia. Other threats facing organgutan include illegal timber harvest, mining and road development and the illegal pet trade.Less than 150,000 of these animals remain with about 104,700 Bornean orangugtan, 14,613 Sumatran and 800 Tapanuli are remaining, making them a critically endangered species. (WWF, 2017) We need to limit production of unsustainable palm oil and continue to create safe spaces for these beautiful animals to live.
"Adorable to see him walk with his hands in the air to ensure he does not wet his hands, This is completely against their natural instincts! probably adapting to the changing and shrinking habitat due to palm oil farming. They are doing their best to survive under the circumstances." - Jayaprakash Bojan
Face to Face
Words by Jayaprakesh Bojan
Palm oil farming has depleted their habitat and when pushed to the edge these intelligent creatures have learnt to adapt to the changing landscape. Across the world habitat destruction for the purpose of human settlements and growth is probably directly or indirectly driving a lot of species to the edge. Climate change and global warming are basically the side effects of habitat destruction which creates an imbalance in the ecosystem. The primary reason for my personal focus on primates in Asia is that I love them - they’re so human in their behaviour - I love observing them - they’re very expressive and show emotions endearingly and I feel I’m able to connect with them. I look at photography as a form of art to tell stories so if I’m able to tell stories of their plight to create awareness and emotionally move people to help and support causes of conservation, this would give me a lot of purpose and satisfaction.
Behind the scenes when Jayaprakash gets into the water to get closer to this large organugtan.
Nature and wildlife photography is something that came naturally to me as I initially grew up in the hills of South India surrounded by birds and wildlife. I got more interested in it about a decade ago, started learning and experimenting about 4 years ago and took a break from my career in the IT/ITES industry about 2 years ago to pursue my passion for travel and nature photography. I’m still a hobbyist photographer but I’ve been published in magazines in India and internationally and have received a few awards prior to this. I’m currently working on a personal photo book project on primates in Asia and hopefully publish it by end 2018.
Overall I look at photography as a form of art and my constant endeavour is to tell stories through my pictures. My passion comes from the very fact that I genuinely enjoy spending time with nature in the wild and, it’s a combination of my curiosity and eagerness to see some of the endangered species in the wild - not easy to come by but fulfilling. I want to be more involved in the area of conservation. I still need to figure out how and what I’d be doing in this space, it’s a path I’ve started to walk on I want to make sure that I can add value.
"Meet this adorable one that was rescued from a palm oil plantation and later released into the park. He likes to hang around the rangers office in the afternoons. I was really moved and saddened by the plight of these amazing primates living in the fringes of the palm oil farms and the shrinking habitats!" - Jayaprakash Bojan
"I guess he is meditating with his eyes closed or may be he is praying before he crossed the river I Getting into the river with him to get these perspectives was completely worth it" - Jayaprakash Bojan
As individuals and collectively we need to work on protecting these magnificent animals, alongside all wildlife to sustain a future for all of us.
Find more information about the cause at:
WWF Oranugtan and The Orangutan Project
Photographs and Text by Jayaprakash Bojan, find out more via:
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