Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Facing Extinction

As somewhat of a follow up to his Jungle Quest 18 years ago, Terry Pratchett returns to Borneo to seek the Orang-Utan he met then, but both orang-utans and he himself is Facing Extinction. This is an hour long documentary that is as much about Terry Pratchett and his Alzheimer's as it is about the orang-utans.

What we see is a country where money has driven the rain forest to a small area, and taken over by creating palm oil plants. A village that was out of the way is now showing itself off as a tourist destination. And you can buy endangered species at the local market. Amidst this, the orang-utans are dying out, although laws are in places to protect their remaining rain forest and to ensure no orang-utans are in cages by 2015 (instead they'll be in the forest where they haven't learnt to defend themselves). And through all this Sir Terry can barely walk properly, although he is enthusiastic about pushing on. Previously he met the alpha male Kusasi and wanted to find him again...

This is a rather downbeat documentary, with the lack of progress on display. While trying to smile, it's all too easy to see how Sir Terry is fairing. Him and the orang-utans... all to easy to see the parallels...

And I'm sure you wouldn't violate BBC's screening rights by watching it for yourself here:


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