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Posted May 27, 2011
Misleading children about endangered orangutans
This book is cute. It is full of beautiful and delightful images of Suryia and Roscoe, who definitely share a sweet and unique relationship. However, it is very misleading to children. It does nothing to discuss the plight of endangered orangutans....just delights children with cute pictures of these two animals living together at the T.I.G.E.R.S preserve in South Carolina. Children are the next generation of conservationists...they need to be taught at an early age about just how bleak the future of wild orangutans is without intense intervention. The author of this book, Mr. Antle, who is also the owner of the preserve, is famous for his 'cute' images, many of which are posed, because these animals are trained. Once people become interested in this book, they will want to follow him on Facebook, or the net, and will be completely drowned in even more of these 'cute' and 'precious' pictures. He says he's a conservationist; however, these images are what he wants you to see. He may speak up about not using palm oil; however, he never gives links to the public to see images of the real endangered orangutans...the palm oil orphans, etc... The danger in this book is that children will become enamored with these two precious animals and want to see more and more of them, perhaps even traveling to SC to visit the preserve to meet them, but they will not delve further into the problem with the real endangered orangutans. They are the ones who need help. Suryia faces exploitation daily by having Mr. Antle allow the public to handle him for pictures, etc....or dressing him up in a buoyant wetsuit for the public to be able to see him in the pool. It has been proven that when the public sees apes dressed up, etc... it causes them to inadvertently believe that these animals are not endangered, doing them a huge disservice. If parents allow their kids to read this book, they need to go a little further by teaching them about the endangered orangutans, and about how this exploitation of Suryia is not right.
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