Morbidly obese orangutan lays bare tragic plight of those in captivity
This morbidly obese orangutan shows the heart-breaking situation of animals stuck in captivity.
Trapped behind bars with only eating to relieve its boredom and sadness, the orangutan has become extremely overweight.
The poor animal is also far removed from its natural habitat, with stuck on the floor instead of sitting in a leafy canopy.
After feasting on a piece of corn, it returned to staring sadly from out behind its bars and holding its hand out for more food.
The orangutan was being held in Bangkok, Thailand.
The pictures were taken by British photojournalist and TV presenter Aaron Gekoski, who currently lives in Sabah, Borneo.
Aaron said: “This orangutan is quite clearly morbidly obese.
“With little room to exercise and being constantly fed all day, this is a common trait in captive orangutans.
“This animal is also on the floor, behaviour you rarely see in wild orangutans, who spend almost their entire lives high up in the canopies.
“They even build nests to sleep in treetops.
“The final red flag, which is not visible in the image, is that this orangutan was in an enclosure with two other individuals.
“Orangutans are generally very solitary animals which seldom encounter each other in the wild.
“One of the major problems of captivity is that it takes away an animal’s choices.”
The sad images that Aaron has posted have caught people’s imagination on social media.
He has been monitoring reactions to the orangutan’s plight over social media.
Aaron said: “People have been sharing the image online and expressing their sadness and anger.
“Orangutans are intelligent and sentient animals that need stimulation and exercise.
“Along with being grossly overweight, this orangutan was clearly bored and looked very depressed.
“It just sat gnawing at the bars or holding its hand out waiting to be fed.
“There were even people who said the image made them cry.
“Photography can be a very powerful tool for brining animal welfare issues to light.”
Aaron was a winner at this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year award in the one-shot photojournalist category for his ‘Palm-Oil Survivors’.
These recent photos were taken as part of a wildlife tourism campaign that has sparked global interest.