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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

Fifth Grade Students Tell the Story of Budi the Baby Orangutan

Fifth grade students at an elementary school in the USA have created a magical new children’s book about Budi the baby orangutan.

“One Special Orangutan: The Story of Budi” has been written, illustrated and published by the fifth-grade class at P.S. 107 John W. Kimball Learning Center in Park Slope, Brooklyn. 

The book tells the story of Budi, a baby orangutan rescued from captivity by our team in West Borneo and nursed back to health at our conservation centre in Ketapang. Budi is currently undergoing rehabilitation in preparation for his eventual reintroduction into a protected forest. 

When he was rescued in 2014, video clips of the little ape in the care of our veterinary team melted the hearts of millions across the globe, making him an internet sensation. Now his story, told through his own eyes, has been captured in print in this delightful and poignant book.

The students have used Budi’s story to illustrate the many threats to the survival of orangutan populations in Borneo and Sumatra. Widespread deforestation to make way for palm oil plantations, forest fires, logging and coal mining, as well as the keeping of baby orangutans as pets, are all contributing to the rapid decline in orangutan populations in Indonesia. By telling the tale of one baby orangutan, the students, using all their own words and pictures, have conveyed the desperate plight of an entire species.

“One Special Orangutan: The Story of Budi” is the third in a series of books created by fifth grade students at the school.  Books in previous years have told the stories of a Sumatran rhino and an African elephant, and include forewords by Dr. Jane Goodall. The annual book project is an initiative of Beast Relief, a PTA Committee set up to teach students about wildlife conservation. 

In his Foreword to the book, Melvin T. Gumal, Program Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society Malaysia, states: “In this wonderful book, the children in P.S. 107 have been able to communicate the complexities of orangutan conservation in a manner that is remarkably easy to understand. Indeed, readers will be engaged from the very first word. It is my belief that people of all ages and backgrounds will enjoy the children’s passionate and imaginative story-telling which brings alive images of this wonderful creature, the orangutan.”

Alan Knight OBE, IAR Chief Executive, is also full of praise for the students’ achievement: “I firmly believe that the only way to build a better future for animals is to educate the young of today. You can imagine therefore just how delighted I was to read this beautiful book written and illustrated by the fifth graders of P.S. 107 John W. Kimball Learning Center.”

“One Special Orangutan: The Story of Budi” is available on Amazon with proceeds from its sale going to support our work.