2005 – 49 min. Produced by the BBCJ
For fifteen million years orangutans roamed tropical forests from China to South East Asia. Nowadays in Borneo, one of their last island outposts, lives one who is a legend. They gave him the name Kusasi. The Orangutan King is the story of Kusasi’s life told to us by Dr Birute M. Galdikas. She has been researching orangutans in Borneo for over 40 years. With enthusiasm and insight she tells us this special story – taking us back 30 years and unfolding Kusasi’s story with details, energy, and the wonder that she still feels for the orangutan species.
As a three year old orphan, Kusasi fell under the care of Galdikas in her forest research camp. But driven by a cunning spirit Kusasi did not behave as the other ex-captive infants. Kusasi fought to win back and then succeed at life in the wild. And he’s achieved what had once seemed impossible, reaching the top of the power hierarchy and ruling for ten years. Today his spirit still burns brightly but his physical strength is fading. His fights with the rogue males who cross his borders are weakening him and the Orangutan King is the last chance for us to see him in power. The hope of this film is that he will not be the last of his kind to rule with such strength in his forests. If the forest destruction can be stopped, there is a long future for the considerable Kusasi bloodline.