Fans in anguish over 'heartbreaking' orangutan scene in new David Attenborough documentary

Fans of Sir David Attenborough have shared their anguish online after viewing some of the distressing content in his latest wildlife documentary series.

Attenborough's seven-part nature series, Seven Worlds, One Planet, has been hailed as a "landmark" project by a number of critics. Yet some of its material has proved controversial. 

The series features resurfaced footage of an orangutan appearing to try and fight off a bulldozer destroying its habitat in Borneo, before falling off a fallen tree trunk in the Sungai Putri forest.


Viewers on social media have shared their response to the "heartbreaking" scene.

"Possibly the most heartbreaking scene on any Sir David Attenborough program to see the orangutan trying to fight off a digger in the forest. What are we doing to this beautiful planet?" one person tweeted.

"Have you ever seen a more disheartening photo?" wrote another, alongside screenshots of the heart-wrenching footage.

The video was reportedly captured in 2013 and re-released by International Animal Rescue last year. It was also included in Attenborough's previous documentary Climate Change: The Facts, released earlier this year.

Attenborough advised buying products made with "deforestation-free sustainable palm oil" from companies that "support local people using existing plantations without cutting down more rainforest".

Walruses scrambling over one another as others fell to their death from a cliff also proved controversial, with viewers calling the footage "harrowing", "grim" and "horrific" on Twitter.

The series, which has recently premiered in the UK, US and China during the end of October and beginning of November, has yet to debut on New Zealand screens.

Thousands of crew members travelled to 41 countries to capture footage for the acclaimed series.