The love story is much more touching and much less fraught in Born To Be Wild, which portrays two sanctuaries for animal orphans that are thousands of miles apart geographically, but virtually identical in terms of attitude and approach. The two centres — one in Kenya that caters to baby elephants whose mothers are dead (typically at the hand of poachers), the other in Borneo, and focusing on infant and young orangutans — have been operating for decades. Each was started by a dedicated woman — both of whom are still there to this day, bringing a loving, hands-on approach to animals that need literally years of nurture and training before they are fit to be released back into the wild.
There is an unabashedly “aw shucks” quality to a lot of the footage, whether it’s elephant trainers who sleep in the same stall as their infant charges or the round-faced apes wearing diapers and looking like adorable albeit rather hairy babies. Sealing the deal is narrator Morgan Freeman, whose mellow voice adds a further dimension to this wonderful journey into the animal kingdom. You’d have to be heartless not to love this movie.