James River Water Levels

Westham Gauge
Gauge Height: 4.04'
Flow: 2240 cfps

Trail Conditions: Richmond


Todays Tides: Richmond Locks

High Tide: 10:48pm
Low Tide: 5:06pm

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Posted In: Environment

Local Filmmaker Releases Award-Winning Documentary on Orangutans

Andy Thompson

April 26, 2018 12:25pm

I had to share this incredible short documentary piece by local filmmaker Melissa Lesh. You might have seen some of Lesh’s work focused Richmond and the James River Park System. In this award-winning video, a Vimeo staff pick on Earth Day, Lesh and co-director Tim Laman shine a light on orangutans in Indonesia. As she writes in a recent Facebook post:

Orangutans have taught me a lot about our connection to the earth. Sharing 97% of our DNA and having culture similar to our own, it is easy to see just how of-this-earth we really are, one family. In fact we are so similar that pharmacy pregnancy tests can be used to detect a pregnant female orangutan. Despite our similarities, orangutans are in particular need of our attention right now, their populations are in peril. A recent study suggests that with current trends continuing, orangutans will be extinct in the wild by 2030. Their future literally rests in our hands, with palm oil (contained in many of our everyday products) being the leading cause of their habitat decline. I hope you can take a moment to watch, share, and appreciate one of our closest relatives. The research featured in the film is part of a larger conservation effort and is one piece of the solution.

About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?