Orangutan Island

Common Sense Media says

Cute, fuzzy reality stars will captivate families.

Age(i)

2
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5
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9
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Offers insight into animal behavior and celebrates the orangutans' loyalty to each other and the efforts they make to survive in their new home. It also demonstrates how different personalities can co-exist and thrive and puts a relatable face on the victims of wilderness extinction.

Violence & scariness

Minor scuffles erupt among the orangutans for dominance within the society, but there are no lasting injuries. Some tense moments when the animals face threats from predators or intruders. For instance, an older, more aggressive intruder bullies the youngsters for their food supply.

Sexy stuff

Occasional mention of the animals' sexual maturity and desire to attract the opposite sex.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that it's easy to develop an attachment to the hairy stars of this reality show, so sensitive viewers of all ages may find themselves very affected by the orangutans' emotional ups and downs. And you may find yourself starting the "birds and bees" conversation with young kids after references to sexual maturity and attracting a mate. But otherwise, this engaging series -- which captures some fascinating animal behavior and draws attention to endangered species -- is great family viewing.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

ORANGUTAN ISLAND chronicles the challenges and triumphs of a unique society of rehabilitated orphan orangutans, who have been relocated to a protected jungle island in Borneo to -- hopefully -- succeed at living in the wild. The 35 orangutans -- all of whom were orphaned as babies through hunting, development, or inhumane sale as pets -- are young by the species' standards; most range in age from 4 to 6 (maturity isn't reached until age 9). The were raised at a rescue-and-reintroduction center, where staff and volunteers acted as surrogate moms, teaching the animals the basics of surviving in the wild. At \"forest school,\" the orangutan toddlers learned essential skills like foraging for food, avoiding predators, and building sleeping nests. Now, years later, they're slowly being encouraged to live on their own in the closest thing to their endangered natural rainforest habitat that's available: a secluded island sanctuary that will offer them independence as well as ongoing observation and occasional visits from the rescue center staff. But to make it work, the animals will have to shake off their species' instinctive solitude and band together.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The show chronicles the daily ups and downs of the orangutans' transition. Narration puts words to their behavior, pointing out signs of happiness, melancholy, tension, and jealousy. As viewers become more acquainted with the main "cast" -- including Cha Cha, who has a hard time adjusting to her new surroundings; Daisy, an outgoing 6-year-old; and Saturnus, a rebellious male who likes to be the center of attention -- they'll enjoy watching relationships develop amid the forming social hierarchy.

Orangutan Island is worthwhile entertainment for families, as it exposes viewers to animal behavior and, with some prompting, can instigate thoughtful discussions about conservation, the plight of endangered species, and even global warming. But be forewarned that it's easy to get caught up in the emotional roller coaster of these beautiful animals' struggles, so you may want to check it out before sharing it with particularly sensitive youngsters.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the show's messages about wildlife endangerment and preservation. How do things like deforestation and humans' land use affect other creatures? What types of animals, insects, and plants are being threatened? What does it mean when a species is endangered? What attempts are being made to preserve animals' natural habitats and conserve natural resources? How can people help the efforts at home? Families can also discuss how this show is similar to and different from reality shows focused on humans. Which do you like better? Why?

TV details

This review of Orangutan Island was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written bySLENDER January 5, 2014
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

meerdog shutup

i think meerdog is being really mean apes are us but stronger and bigger than us so god created a ape to make the rest of us retard
What other families should know
Educational value
Parent of a 16 year old Written byJokawild103 March 14, 2011
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

Chen Chen, Cha Cha, Hamlet, Daisy, Saturnus, Jordan, baby Hardy and the other Orangutans became part of my family:)

I LOVE THIS SHOW!!!! Orangutan Island became a part of my life over the last few months and I am sickened to hear that it was cancelled. Here in Hawaii the shows air at 4am and I would stay up just to watch. I was so fascinated with Orangutans I even went to visit the Honolulu Zoo just to see them in real life.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bysnowedinmomof3 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 
my daughter is 6.5 and she loves this show. there are many lessons to be learned about our society thru these animals and people who care for them. it sparks many conversations in our house.

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