Dame Judi Dench has revealed she adopted three orangutans after launching a campaign to protect the Borneo rainforest and its endangered species.
The revelation came during the premiere of her new documentary, Judi Dench’s Wild Borneo Adventure, in which the actor explores one of the few untouched rainforests remaining in South East Asia.
The 84-year-old interacts with a variety of wildlife throughout the programme, including orangutans, elephants, crocodiles and hornbills.
You can watch the trailer for the upcoming show below:
As reported by The Telegraph, 100,000 indigenous orangutans have been killed or forcibly relocated from the Indonesian Borneo since 2002.
Experts explained to Dame Judi how the animals help to prevent climate change by spreading seeds from trees, which remove harmful carbon from the atmosphere once they have grown.
The 84-year-old actor shared her love for orangutans, and can be seen meeting the adorable animals throughout the two-part documentary, describing them as acting in a playful manner ‘like a child’.
The executive producer of the documentary, Anthony Geffen, hosted a Q&A session after the premiere, and described the sequence of the actress holding hands with an orangutan as ‘powerful’ and ‘moving’.
Dame Judi said about her experience:
You think oh I will go in and I might meet an elephant or I might meet an orangutan. But in two weeks we met orangutans, elephants, crocodiles, dung beetles, saw the crickets, all those amazing silk moths and ‘macaque’ monkeys.
It was like an enormous dinner that you have that was simply with endless courses of more and more wonderful things.
Dame Judi went on to confirm that she had, in fact, adopted three orangutans following her appearance in the ITV documentary.
The documentary also shows Dame Judi speaking to leading scientists from South East Asia Rainforest Research Partnership (SEARRP), an environment charity which is working hard to protect endangered habitats.
Dr Glen Reynolds, Director at SEARRP, said:
This new documentary with Dame Judi provides an opportunity for us to showcase how, with our partners in Malaysia, we are working to study and protect rainforests and demonstrate the critical role they play in regulating the earth’s climate, maintaining biodiversity and supporting human livelihoods and wellbeing.
You can adopt an orangutan here, to help provide vital care for an otherwise endangered species.
Judi Dench’s Wild Borneo Adventure airs on July 2.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).