The Asian Reporter 19th Annual
Scholarship & Awards Banquet -
RESCUING ORANGS AND ELEPHANTS. Born to be Wild, a documentary screening at Portland’s OMNIMAX Theater through July 13, follows the miraculous journey of young orphaned orangutans in Borneo and elephants in Kenya from birth to reintroduction into the wild. Pictured is a rehabilitated orangutan and her newborn at their home in Tanjung Puting National Park in Indonesian Borneo. (Photo/Drew Fellman, courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment)
From The Asian Reporter, V21, #11 (June 6, 2011), pages 11 & 13.
Into the wild
Born to be Wild
Directed by David Lickley
Produced by Drew Fellman
Distributed by Warner Bros. Entertainment
Showing through July 13 at the
Oregon Museum of Science & Industry’s OMNIMAX Theater
By Josephine Bridges
The Asian Reporter
This story is like a fairytale," narrator Morgan Freeman introduces Born to be Wild, "except it’s completely true." The story of more than 300 orphaned orangutans, over 200 orphaned elephants, and two real live fairy godmothers, this IMAX film is as much a marvel of cinematography and screenwriting as it is of responsibility and compassion. Heartbreaking yet hopeful, Born to be Wild — shown in 3-D — will stir you, and perhaps even provoke you to action. Don’t miss it.
Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas is a world-renowned primatologist who went to Borneo looking for animals to study. "I never thought I’d find lifelong friends," she says. Many orphaned orangutans raised at the Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine (OCCQ) "under human care but not control," have successfully returned to the wild and are now mothers and grandmothers themselves. Sometimes they drop by the OCCQ for a visit to "the only place in the world where humans and great apes are truly equal."
The stunning footage of orangutans riding in wheelbarrows, scrubbing themselves with soapsuds, sharing noodles with Dr. Galdikas, clinging to the back of a man riding a motorcycle, and silhouetted against the sky as they grasp trees and vines wasn’t easy to capture.
Writer and producer Drew Fellman explains, "Just getting in and out of Borneo took an enormous amount of time and coordination. 30,000 pounds of gear had to be shipped to Bali then transported to Borneo via Java on three different ferries. To film sequences in Tanjung Puting, all the gear had to be loaded onto small traditional boats and sent up a narrow river full of crocodiles. Then, every single piece of gear had to be carried into the jungle by hand."
Viewers will be equally engaged by the orphaned elephants of Kenya and their fierce and gentle defender, Dame Daphne M. Sheldrick. Born to be Wild is a magnificent pairing of wild creatures, one so like ourselves, and another so different. You’ll find a lump in your throat, if not tears in your eyes, as one little elephant, like many orphans, can’t get to sleep.
"Elephants do have an incredible memory," the narrator reminds us, "but sometimes what they remember is awfully sad."
Raising rescued animals and returning them to the wild is not enough; the wild must also be saved. Orangutan Foundation International works to preserve the rainforest, while The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust helps protect Tsavo National Park, the largest in Africa. But that is also not enough.
Dame Daphne explains, "We’re consuming everything on the planet and if we’re not extremely careful, there will be no room for any other lifeforms here. And as soon as that happens, there will be no more us. We need to support conservation organizations to help save the animal population as well as their habitat. We need to put pressure on our leaders to care about these things."
Says Dr. Galdikas, "Preserving endangered animals and the earth is a tremendous responsibility, and although governments have begun to make some strong commitments, it is still individuals who must drive conservation everywhere."
Following through with the fairytale theme, Morgan Freeman concludes, "These orphans have been given a second chance at life, but whether they’ll live happily ever after depends on us."
Don’t miss Born to be Wild, and then, whatever your small part in protecting these creatures and their habitats may be, don’t miss doing it.
Born to be Wild is screening at the OMNIMAX Theater, located at 1945 S.E. Water Avenue in Portland, through July 13. For more information, including showtimes, call (503) 797-4640 or visit <www.omsi.edu>. To learn more, visit <www.imax.com/borntobewild>.