2024 Edition

Aaron Gekoski

See No Evil

Orangutans exploited by the tourism industry, Thailand, 2023

Category - Humanity Versus Nature

See No Evil

Sharing 97% of our DNA, orangutans are one of the most well-loved animals in zoos all over the world. At Safari World, in Bangkok, Thailand, they are used every day in boxing shows, where they have to dance in bikinis, ride bikes and fight each other. They are also used for photo opportunities; they are obliged to do these activities for hours on end, despite being naturally shy, solitary animals.  In 2004, over 100 orangutans were confiscated from Safari World after DNA tests proved they were being brought illegally from Indonesia. However, within a few years, the shows started all over again. In order to supply Wildlife Tourism Attractions, young orangutans are stolen from the wild, and their mothers are killed. They are trained using cruel methods, such as beatings and food deprivation. When they become too old, they are locked away in cages for the rest of their lives. This image was taken on assignment for American NGO, Lady FreeThinker. I have been looking into the orangutan tourism industry for more than five years now, travelling the world to document the plight of orangutans in captivity.

70-200 mm f/2.8 Lens - 1/40 sec at f/5 ISO 1000