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Reflections of Eden My Years with the Orangutans of Borneo
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Reflections of Eden My Years with the Orangutans of Borneo Paperback - 1996

by Birute M. F. Galdikas


From the publisher

Ever since Jane Goodall unlocked the mysteries of wild chimpanzees, and Dian Fossey lived among mountain gorillas, the world has been captivated by primates and the people who study them. Here, at last, is the riveting story of Birute Galdikas, a pioneering primatologist who has spent much of her life studying orangutans. In 1971, twenty-five-year-old Galdikas began living in the remote jungles of Indonesian Borneo, where she encountered menacing poachers, blood-sucking leeches, and swarms of carnivorous insects. Determined to penetrate the world of the elusive "red ape" in the name of science and conservation, Galdikas embarked on a quest of more than twenty years to become the foremost chronicler of orangutan life.

Her first task was to forge a bond of trust with the animals, but her initial forays into their world were thwarted by skeptical and territorial orangutans like handsome Cara, who hurled dead branches at Galdikas from the tree canopy above. Eventually, Galdikas became a surrogate member of the community, triumphantly claimed as "mother" by little Sugito, who clung to her fiercely, night and day, for months. Reflections of Eden is an exotic adventure, a history of vital scientific research, and the memoir of a remarkable woman.

First line

AKMAD AND I were alone by the edge of the great forest of Borneo, the second largest continuous stretch of tropical rain forest in the world, Akmad had just given birth, and her gentle, elongated orangutan face with its delicately etched features looked tired.

From the rear cover

From the first, it was an adventure. In 1971, at age twenty-five, Galdikas left the placid world of American academia for the remote jungles of Indonesian Borneo. Living with her husband in a primitive camp, she became surrogate mother to a "family" of ex-captive orangutans - and gradually adjusted to the blood-sucking leeches, swarms of carnivorous insects, and constant humidity that rotted her belongings in the first year. Her first son spent the early years of his life at Camp Leakey with adopted orangutans as his only playmates. The wild orangutans Galdikas studied and the ex-captives she rehabilitated became an extended family of characters no less vivid than her human companions. Throatpouch, a huge and irritable grouch, fought off rivals for the right to claim adolescent Priscilla as his mate. Handsome Cara at first tried to rid the forest of its human intruder by hurling dead branches at Galdikas from the canopy above. Little Sugito, rescued from a cramped cage and returned to the jungle claimed Galdikas as his mother and clung to her fiercely, night and day, for months. A groundbreaking chronicler of the orangutans' life cycle, Galdikas also describes the threats that increasingly menace them: the battles with poachers and loggers, the illicit trade in infant orangutans, the frustrations of official bureaucracy. Her story is a rare combination of personal epiphany, crucial scientific discovery, and international impact - a life of human and environmental challenge. Reflections of Eden is the third act of a drama that has captivated the world: the story of a pioneering primatologist, a world leader in conservation, and a remarkable woman.

Details

  • Title Reflections of Eden My Years with the Orangutans of Borneo
  • Author Birute M. F. Galdikas
  • Binding Paperback
  • Edition First Paperback
  • Pages 432
  • Language ENG
  • Publisher Back Bay Books, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
  • Date August 1, 1996
  • Features Illustrated, Table of Contents
  • ISBN 9780316301862
  • Themes
    • Chronological Period: 20th Century
    • Cultural Region: Southeast Asian
    • Sex & Gender: Feminine

Media reviews

Citations

  • New York Times, 12/01/1996, Page 36
  • Publishers Weekly, 06/24/1996, Page 0
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Reflections of Eden : My Years with the Orangutans of Borneo

Reflections of Eden : My Years with the Orangutans of Borneo

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by Birute M. F. Galdikas

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