I’m finally back home after an exciting two months of photography and filming in Indonesia. Its time to share a few highlights with you, and I’m going to start with some exciting news from Gunung Palung in Borneo, where I’ve been documenting my wife Cheryl Knott’s orangutan research for 25 years. Her project studies the entire population of wild orangutans in “GP” as we call it, but we get to know some individuals especially well, and none is more familiar to our team than a female named Walimah.
Featured Photos: Walimah – Then and Now
The first image was taken twenty years ago in 1999, when Walimah was a newborn infant. Walimah’s mother had a home range close to the research camp, and so we encountered her often and Walimah grew up seeing researchers on the ground below her as a normal part of her environment. So she has never been afraid of humans, and has been a great subject for my photography.
Some of you may be familiar, however, with the tragic turn of events in Walimah’s life in 2015. After the highlight of having her first baby in April that year, she was the apparent victim of an infanticidal attack by a rogue male orangutan (our best guess of what happened), and her first baby was lost. This story is documented in our 2016 film on NatGeo Wild Channel called “Mission Critical: Orangutan on the Edge” (and in a scientific paper by Cheryl and her team: Possible Male Infanticide in Wild Orangutans and a Re-evaluation of Infanticide Risk).
Well, Walimah is now having a second chance! She finally became pregnant again last year, and has a healthy new baby born this year in May! The images below are a couple of my favorites from my recent trip. Walimah’s new baby appears to be a female, and is now three months old and doing well. She is a great symbol of hope for the future of the orangutans of Gunung Palung, a conservation area that is turning out to be a stronghold for the critically endangered Bornean Orangutan. I’m already planning to keep going back to GP regularly over the next few years to document Walimah’s baby as she grows up.
You can learn more about Cheryl’s research and conservation work at Gunung Palung by checking out her website www.savegporangutans.org and following her teams’ work at @saveGPorangutans. Please consider supporting their hard work partnering with the National Park and surrounding communities to safeguard GP as an orangutan sanctuary for the long term.
I’m also launching an orangutan print gallery today at my art store TimLamanFineArt, so please check it out. I’ll be contributing profits from sale of these prints to saveGPorangutans.org, so please consider making a purchase to support orangutan conservation.
Here is a glimpse of some of the images in the new Orangutan gallery.
Thanks for reading and best wishes to all.