Synopses & Reviews
Spalding takes readers on a fascinating journey through Borneo's threatened jungles on the trail of infamous orangutan researcher Birute Galdikas.
"[An] intimate and deeply thoughtful chronicle of a woman's awakening to the many challenges facing orangutans and the earth as a whole." Christian Science Monitor
"[A] haunting account of a despoiled 'Eden.'" Library Journal
Birute Galdikas, along with Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall, form the famed trio of angels” Louis Leakey trained to study great apes in the wild. While Fossey studied the gorilla and Goodall the chimpanzee, Galdikas went to Borneo to study the orangutan and, decades later, emerged as a complicated figure, embroiled in scandal. Spaldings quest to know this woman takes her from the offices of Galdikass foundation in Los Angeles to the Sekonyer River in Borneo, where she discovers a beguiling cast of characters. A host of foreign scientists, government workers, tourists, loggers, descendants of the Dayak headhunters, Javanese gold miners, and half-tame orangutans all vie for control of this despoiled Eden. Dark Place in the Jungle is an absorbing rumination on the failure of a woman trying desperately to mother a species to survival, the dangers and temptations of eco-tourism, and the arrogance of our inclination to alter the very things we set out to preserve. 30 black-and-white photographs are featured in this revealing and fascinating journey.