Big 5s

Pavan Sukhdev

President, WWF International

“As with all kids growing up in India, the power and spirit of the tiger is never far away. It jumps at you from scattered images or statues of Goddess Durga (who rides the tiger) to nature books, to grandma’s tales, to the occasional fear-instilled visit to a city zoo, with warnings to stay away from the steel bars of a massive cage that separate you from the huge, frightening yet graceful gold-bronze-white-black that paces within. My fascination for this animal and then for its home, the Indian forest of the night, no doubt led to my passion for conservation.

But today, if you ask me for my favourite animal, it’s not this awe-inspiring spirit of the Indian jungle. Instead, my favourite animal now is the orangutan. What an apt name: orang-utan, a ‘forest-person’. My daughter Mahima as a child called them “orange people”, and they truly are. Look them in the eyes and their intelligence looks back at you.

Genetically, they’re our closest living cousins. There are three species, and, sadly, all are Critically Endangered (IUCN Red List). The north Sumatran species – Tapanuli Orangutan – is found only in the Batang Toru ecosystem, and there are less than 800 of them.

More than any other animal, orangutans remind me that nature is part of us and we are part of nature.”

www.worldwildlife.org
www.instagram.com/World_Wildlife

Photo by naturepl.com / Anup Shah / WWF

My Big 5

    Orangutan
    Tiger
    Elephant
    Otter
    Meerkat

Pavan Sukhdev

President, WWF International

“As with all kids growing up in India, the power and spirit of the tiger is never far away. It jumps at you from scattered images or statues of Goddess Durga (who rides the tiger) to nature books, to grandma’s tales, to the occasional fear-instilled visit to a city zoo, with warnings to stay away from the steel bars of a massive cage that separate you from the huge, frightening yet graceful gold-bronze-white-black that paces within. My fascination for this animal and then for its home, the Indian forest of the night, no doubt led to my passion for conservation.

But today, if you ask me for my favourite animal, it’s not this awe-inspiring spirit of the Indian jungle. Instead, my favourite animal now is the orangutan. What an apt name: orang-utan, a ‘forest-person’. My daughter Mahima as a child called them “orange people”, and they truly are. Look them in the eyes and their intelligence looks back at you.

Genetically, they’re our closest living cousins. There are three species, and, sadly, all are Critically Endangered (IUCN Red List). The north Sumatran species – Tapanuli Orangutan – is found only in the Batang Toru ecosystem, and there are less than 800 of them.

More than any other animal, orangutans remind me that nature is part of us and we are part of nature.”

Photo by naturepl.com / Anup Shah / WWF

My Big 5

    Orangutan
    Tiger
    Elephant
    Otter
    Meerkat

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