An incredible photo managed to capture the very moment an orangutan tried to help a man in Borneo, who was stood in a river searching for snakes – many of which pose a threat to primates.
In the image, the gentle beast appears to be leaning down to lend a helping hand to the man as he stands beneath him, submerged up to his chest in the water.
The picture was taken in a conservation forest area in Borneo, where the endangered species are protected from hunters.
Anil Prabhakar had been out trekking with friends in the area while on safari, when he spotted the unusual encounter taking place.
He later found out that the unnamed man – who helps protect the animals as part of a non-profit organisation called the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation – was clearing away snakes from the area to help guard the orangutans… or at least he was until his inquisitive animal friend interrupted him.
The photographer revealed the worker actually ended up refusing the orangutan’s hand after the camera caught the touching moment in a picture, as it’s a wild animal.
Anil, from Indonesia, said: “Someone told him there was a snake in the river. The warden went there and cleared the bushes.
“An orangutan came to the banks and was watching what he was doing. He then came closer and gave his hand.
“The warden just moved away. I asked him why later and he said, ‘It’s a wild animal, not one we are familiar with.’
“But they are to protect them.”
The non-profit Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation was founded in 1991, and is ‘dedicated to the conservation of the Bornean orangutan and its habitat’, working in cooperation with local communities, the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry and international partner organisations.
According to its website, the foundation is currently taking care of almost 650 orangutans, through the work of 400 ‘highly devoted staff’, alongside experts in primatology, biodiversity, ecology, forest rehabilitation, agroforestry, community empowerment, education and orangutan healthcare.
“As one of our closest living relatives orangutans are highly intelligent, sentient beings,” the website says.
“They are an iconic species of Indonesia and an important umbrella species.
“By protecting orangutans in their natural habitat, a whole plethora of other flora and fauna are also protected. Protecting their forest habitat is as important to humans as much as it is to wildlife.”