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The Adventures of Mongy the Bay Frog

Chapter 3: Mongy the Bay Frog's meets Ringo the orangutan
By Christa Maas

Inspired by the scientific information provided by Rhett Butler on Mongabay.com

Mongy was sitting on the hotel couch, propped up on top of a stack of pillows and looking very much like the frog prince in the fairy tales. He was watching TV, with a very interested and intelligent look on his face, (as far as frog faces go) even though he did not understand a word of what was said. He was nibbling on a batch of his favorite fish food cookies. We had just arrived in Borneo and Mongy and I were really tired.

We had arrived there at last- (after a troublesome affair slipping Mongy through customs) on the exotic island of Borneo! Mongy, although he is usually more of a night person ( ehem... frog), quickly fell asleep on the little thrown I had made for him. Tomorrow would be our first day in the country and we had planned a trip to the Tanjung Putting National Park in southern Kalimantan. This National Park is a protected rain forest and is the home of the Orangutans.

The next morning we got an early start and soon we had reached one of the many Orangutan feeding platforms built by the Orangutan Foundation. I was ready to sit there and wait, to see what would happen, but Mongy jumped onto the platform and started croaking. Well no, it wasn't a croak, it was more of an eerie sounding chant that stirred in me instincts and feelings long forgotten, but undeniable.

"It's like a song, Mongy," I suggested, "but what does it mean?"

"It's the call of the jungle" Mongy explained "Humanity once knew this call, but today only the world's native tribes still remember it. It means "here I am and I am part of nature, too."

Sometimes, I am really impressed with my friend Mongy! I couldn't believe my eyes when I suddenly saw a huge Orangutan cautiously peeking at us through the thick foliage of the jungle. I was so surprised; I just stood there with my mouth open, unable to say a word.

But Mongy was not surprised at all. "Hello, Mr. Orangutan" said he "I am Mongy the Bay Frog and this is my friend, Christa."

"Hello, Mongy and a good day to you Christa, it's nice to meet you. My name is Ringo Tang. What's wrong with her, Mongy? Is she... you know... a little slow?"

"Oh, no" laughed Mongy "it's the first time she has ever heard the call of the jungle."

"Well" grunted Ringo Tang "I am not surprised. I almost forgot it myself at one time. It happens to humans and their pets... or their captives".

I finally managed to close my mouth and contribute something intelligent to the conversation: "Have you ever been in captivity, Mr. Ringo Tang? What happened? Please, tell us your story!"

The Orangutan looked at me thoughtfully for a long time and then he replied: "Yes, I will tell you my story, but I want you to promise that you will let other humans, and especially the small ones know about it, so that they will learn to help protect me and my family in the rain forest."

Mongy and I both promised we would, and if you are reading this now, please remember to tell it to others as well.

Ringo Tang sat down comfortably next to us and started to tell his story.

"My mother used to call me "my little joy" and we lived a happy life playing hide and seek in the rain forest, cuddling, or eating rambutan fruits and bananas. Orangutan mothers only give birth to two or three babies in their life and I was her first born. I was a happy little baby and together with my family lived a cheerful and peaceful life.

We have always feared the humans, but the native Indians of Borneo understood the laws of nature and only took from it what they needed to live and they never destroyed our home.

But then, one day, the enemy humans came; the tree killers with their loud metal teeth, the deep diggers who poison the earth looking for golden rocks, the planters who plant palm oil trees and the hunters. They destroy the forests and the land and for that they receive some paper, which they really like very much and call "money".

The rain forest became smaller and smaller and our family became hungry. We started to go to the enemies planting grounds for food. My mother knew this was dangerous, but I was a baby and didn't understand. I only remember a terrible loud sound, louder than any thunder and then I saw that my mother was hurt and they took her away.

I cried out for her and I remember her saying very softly: "Ringo, never forget the call of the jungle. I will find you! Look for me! Never forget who you are!"

Mongy was truly upset. "What happened to your mother? Did she recover? Where is she?"

"Patience, dear Mongy" replied Ringo "We were the lucky ones, but listen, and be patient!"

Patience is not a word Mongy likes very much, but he had decided he wanted to hear all Ringo had to tell, so he sat down quietly again as the Orangutan continued:

"They put me into a small dark box and onto one of the stinky, bumpy machines they use instead of their legs. I was so afraid. They put me in a place where I could not play and be happy. They fed me food that made me sick, and I became sad and lonely. Then one day, I heard the stinky motor machine again and after another bumpy ride a stranger put me into a cage.

I was so frightened and I tried to hide deep inside the cage, but it was open to all sides and I was in one of these open places without trees where humans exchange things for paper. The stranger started yelling:

"Orangutan baby for sale! Make your child happy! Forget the puppy dog! By and exotic pet for him!"

Then, suddenly there was a lot of commotion and the stranger started running from other humans. He was afraid of them! I think they call them "the authorities"

"What are sorrowties?" asked Mongy, who loves complicated words.

"Authorities, Mongy" I explained "They are like the people who make sure others follow all the rules. It's forbidden to sell Orangutans, you know".

"Yes, that's right!" said Ringo Tang, apparently starting to like me. "The next thing I knew, one of the authorities people picked me up and said

"Poor little fellow! Let's take you to the care center!"

I didn't understand what that meant. But, they loaded my cage onto another motor stink machine" - sigh—" they have so many of them! We went for yet another bumpy ride, but I was too weak to feel anything anyway, it didn't matter anymore. I had given up. I had forgotten who I was.

That's when I met the professor. Kind and gentle eyes looked at me and she said in a soothing voice:

"Lets’ have a look at you. Oh, no, what have they done to you, you poor little guy! We better take you to Quarantine and get you well again"

Mongy jumped up all exited again. There was another complicated word!

"Quackentine" he chanted " Quackentine, Quackentine!"

Oh, Mongy! Sometimes you are really a handful! I said "It is not Quackentine, it's Qua-ren-tine and it means that you are kept separate from others, because you might be sick."

"Oh, sorry" replied Mongy, a little downhearted.

"What was Quarantine like? Did you get well, soon? I asked Ringo Tang.

"I don't remember how long I was there. But, there were many humans in white clothes and sometime they pricked me with metal things. But I started to recover and the professor always came to visit me. I liked her very much. After I got stronger, they took me to a little training forest. I sat there and didn't know what to do. I was very confused and wanted to go back to my cage at the care center. But then I looked up and I saw others, just like me! And suddenly I remembered my mother! I remembered what she had said to me:

"Ringo, never forget the call of the jungle. I will find you! Look for me! Never forget who you are!"

I sat down and cried "Mother! Mother! Where are you?" I remembered the call of the jungle "Mother! Mother! I cried over and over. And then a miracle happened! It was my mother who came to me from the top of a tree. I had never learned how to climb a tree, so she had to come down to me.

"Oh, my little joy! She cried "I thought you were lost forever! But you have found me! You have not forgotten! My baby, my beautiful little boy! But you have grown so much! Oh, what a wonderful thing the professor has done for us! How lucky we are!"

"Buhuhu" went Mongy "That's so wonderful. Buhuhu! What a touching story!"

But tears of happiness don't hurt, and Mongy, Ringo Tang and I didn't mind at all that we had to wipe our noses with the back of our hands, or paws, or fins or whatever.

But I did have one question to ask:

"Ringo Tang, who is the professor?"

"She is called Biruté Mary Galdikas, and she is my hero!" answered Ringo. "She saved my life and my mother's life. I will never forget her".

Well, kids now you know how we met Ringo Tang. We spent a lot of time in Borneo, and I will continue to tell you stories about our adventures there very soon.

But now, Mongy is sitting next to me hopping up and down, wanting to say something.

"What is it, Mongy?"

"Christa, the professor is my hero, too."

Isn't that something! That Mongy always wants to have the last word!

Chapter 1: Meeting Mongy the Bay Frog
Chapter 2: Mongy the Bay Frog's Family

Chapter 4: Mongy the Bay Frog's meets Rhett, the journalist

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