THIS is the heartbreaking moment in Sir David Attenborough's new documentary that an orangutan desperately tries to fight off bulldozers from wrecking its home.
The tragic footage, shown in Sir David's BBC doc Climate Change: The Facts last night, sees the great ape charging towards the digger as it rips down a tree.
Climate Change The Facts with David Attenborough on @BBC1 now. No laughing matter… and not just for this orangutan #ClimateChange pic.twitter.com/Tq4Qcd47Iu
Viewers were left distraught as the majestic beast's futile struggle to protect its forest habitat was captured on film.
It is seen bashing the arm of the bulldozer with its fists – before tragically giving up its fight and clambering down from a felled tree.
Workers are then seen waving at the ape to shoo it away as it leaves its destroyed home forever.
The heartrending footage encapsulates the devastating effect of growing consumer demand for palm oil.
Used in countless household goods, palm oil is a cheap ingredient that is being increasingly harvested from huge plantations.
Huge swathes of forest are being cleared in tropical South East Asia to make room for these palm oil plantations – jeopardising the varied local wildlife.
Stunned viewers said they felt "physically sick" watching the destruction.
One wrote on Twitter: "Seeing the Orangutan trying to stop the bulldozer broke my heart."
Another added: "That #orangutan fighting the digger was one of the saddest things I've ever seen."
And a third wrote: "I'm so sad and feel physically sick, esp the clip of the poor Orangutan hanging off the trees as they were being chopped off".
Later in the programme, environmentalist Sir David said climate change is the greatest threat to the planet in thousands of years.
And he added that the science has never been clearer.
The 92-year-old said: "Right now we are facing our greatest threat in thousands of years: climate change.
"At the current rate of warming we risk a devastating future.
"The science is now clear that urgent action is needed.
"What happens now and in these next few years will profoundly affect the next few thousand years.
'We are facing a man-made disaster on a global scale.
"It may sound frightening but the scientific evidence is that if we have not taken dramatic action within the next decade we could face irreversible damage of the natural world, and the collapse of our societies."
- Climate Change – The Facts is now available to watch on BBC iPlayer
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