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Australian tourist poses with orangutan in Bali Zoo

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Revealed: The heartbreaking story behind this Aussie tourist’s selfie with a ‘cheeky’ orangutan in Bali

  • An Australian tourist shared a selfie with an orangutan while visiting a zoo in Bali
  • Ian Roles, 42, was at Bali Zoo, near Denpasar,  when he captured the moment
  • He only realised later that the great ape was flipping the bird in the background  

An Australian tourist has shared a selfie he took with an orangutan while visiting a zoo in Bali. 

Ian Roles, 42, was at Bali Zoo, near Denpasar, with his family on Saturday when stopped to take a photograph with the friendly animal. 

It wasn’t until he stopped to look at the photo that he noticed the great ape was ‘flipping the bird’ at him.

Ian Roles, 42, was at Bali Zoo, near Denpasar, with his family on Saturday when he captured the unbelievable moment

Ian Roles, 42, was at Bali Zoo, near Denpasar, with his family on Saturday when he captured the unbelievable moment

‘I took the photo and sat back down to have breakfast and when I looked at the photo i thought oh that’s cool then zoomed in and looked what he was doing,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

‘He did not seem very interested in the people that day.

‘People there usually give him food when he gets a photo taken but I jumped in and took this without having given him food, so I don’t think he was happy.’

The photo quickly went viral after Mr Roles shared it on social media, with dozens commenting it was the ‘best selfie ever’.   

While many people were entertained by the image, Kobe Steele, president of the Australian Orangutan foundation, said the image was ‘heartbreaking’.

She said the orangutan likely would have learnt the gesture from a keeper.

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‘These creatures are so intelligent, learning that would’ve been nothing for him.’

She said orangutans in captivity were usually forced to learn gestures and behaviour for entertainment purposes. 

‘It is always so so sad to see such young infants being used in tourist attractions. In particular knowing that his/her mother was killed so they could be sold into a life of captivity through the illegal pet trade.’ 

The orangutan was far more behaved when his family posed for a picture

The orangutan was far more behaved when his family posed for a picture

Orangutans are native to Indonesia and Malaysia and share 97 per cent of their DNA with humans.

They have been studied for decades for their learning abilities and intelligence.  

Sadly, experts predict the critically endangered great apes will be extinct in the wild within 10 years in Sumatra and shortly after that in Borneo. 

Logging, fires, palm oil plantations and poachers pose the biggest threats for the beautiful animals. 

The family has been in Bali for about four days, it was their first time visiting Indonesia

The family has been in Bali for about four days, it was their first time visiting Indonesia 



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