INSIDE EDITION's Megan Alexander Swims With Orangutans
INSIDE EDITION's Megan Alexander had the chance to swim with an orangutan! Here's what she had to say.
"I'm about to do something that no reporter has ever been done before. I'm swimming with an orangutan, watch as he clings to my back underwater."
Orangutans are an endangered species and live in treetops. Experts say they have zero buoyancy and should sink like rocks.
"I was amazed when we were underwater and I could see his face coming towards me and his eyes were open."
But 7-year-old Surya held his breath and moved through the water with ease, breaking a barrier that animal behaviorists long believed was impossible for orangutans.
"It was a breakthrough, it was so unbelievable. None of us believed that it could even happen, and so it was one of the best moments of my life," Mocksha Bybee said. Bybee is the primate curator at the Myrtle Beach Safari in South Carolina.
The first step was getting the orangutans comfortable with me, then it was time for a swim. She says the playful primates were only introduced to the pool a few weeks ago. Lifejackets help them float.
The orangutans are very childlike in the water, but they are ten times stronger than humans.
"You can definitely feel their strength, he's got strong hands, all four of them, grabbing onto you, very insistent," Alexander said.
What happened next took me by surprise. Surya suddenly pulled off his lifejacket and started swimming! He was completely comfortable in the water and started splashing around.
They began by holding hands and dunking under water. Then, Megan swam on her back and was face to face with a 90-pound orangutan.
"Now, we're ready to really push the boundary. Surya got on my back. I could feel his hands gripping me as we swam underwater."
The director of the Myrtle Beach Safari believes there are more breakthrough's to come. "I think that he's gonna learn a surface swim where he will be able to swim a distance on the surface instead of below the water."
The experience gave me the thrill of a lifetime, one that I will never forget.