Gold Coast author Sue Feenstra credits orangutans with ‘saving’ her life

A former Gold Coast gym owner who endured a debilitating back injury has credited orangutans with saving her life, which is why she’s now trying to repay the favour with the launch of her new book.

In 2008, Ephraim Island local Sue Feenstra sustained a back injury so serious that she was told she would remain bedridden for an undetermined length of time.

Instead of giving up, Sue let her mind wander through the forests of Borneo and ended up writing a work of fiction: “Pongo – Hands Through The Forest” entirely on her iPhone.


Having always had the plight of the orangutans in the back of her mind, Sue said she was perplexed as to why nobody had really delved into their world in a literary sense before.

“They are such a gentle species,” Sue said.

“People have written stories featuring all kinds of animals, and I was waiting for someone to write one about orangutans, but it just never happened.

“This is a story that was waiting to be told.”

Aimed at readers of all ages, Pongo is a fictional tale about a young orangutan and his friends as they battle the new fires that are destroying their forest home and threatening their lives.

PHOTO: Supplied to myGC

Teaming up with the Orangutan Foundation International Australia and its founder Kobe Steele, an inspiration and advocate herself, Sue has pledged 15% of all book sales to go directly toward bringing the orangutan back from the brink of extinction before it’s too late.

Sue says she hopes her book will be able to give the next generation the knowledge they need to protect the environment.

“We get an opportunity here to educate our youth on the cause and effect of deforestation, not just for Orangutans but all wildlife which are affected,” she said.

“These are our future leaders, policy makers and environmentalists, the more we can educate them at this age the greater the impact will be when it is their turn to make the decisions.”

Already, a number of local businesses and community groups have gotten behind Sue’s “Legacy Packs”, which see’s five Pongo books all personally signed, wrapped up and donated to local schools.

Businesses and groups wishing to get involved in the initiative can do so here.

“Pongo – Hands Through The Forest” goes on sale today, June 5, to co-incide with World Environment Day.