Orangutan Reaches Out to 'Rescue' Man

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orangutan reaches out hand to man in water
Orangutan reaches out hand to man in water. anil_t_prabhakar/Instagram

The interaction only lasted a few minutes, but it was certainly memorable. An orangutan reached out its hand to a man who was standing in a snake-infested river, as if to rescue him.

The man was a conservancy warden with the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation who was leading a safari in a conservation forest. He was in the water clearing snakes out of the way. The moment was captured by amateur photographer Anil Prabhakar who was on the trip.

"I was really shocked to witness this unpredictable gesture from the orangutan," Prabhakar tells MNN. "Suddenly I managed to fix my camera and grab this heartwarming moment."

Prabhakar, a geologist and amateur photographer from India who now lives in Indonesia, was able to take four frames before the warden moved out of the water and away from the orangutan.

"I asked him why not accept the orangutan's offer. He said, she is still wild in nature and he doesn’t know how they react," Prabhakar says. "Moreover, there is a guidance for these people to try to avoid interaction with them."

Many of the apes in the area were rescued from forest fires, hunting or habitat loss due to deforestation, Prabhakar says. Some are wounded or recovering from other trauma. Eventually they will be released back into the wild, so they want as little interaction with humans as possible.

Prabhakar took the photos in September, but only posted them on social media recently.

"Let me help you?" he captioned the image. "Once Humanity dying in Mankind, sometime animals are guiding us back to our basics."

He says he felt compelled to post it now because of what he sees happening in the world.

"We are the human being destroying their habitat, still they offer a helping hand to the human being. In the present world, humans beings are not helping each other," he says. "How will they help animals or protect nature?"