Gemma Copeland is a keen traveler and she didn’t want to end her journeys just because she had a child. She also wanted her son to explore the world from an early age. So, Gemma and her partner took him to Vienna, Austria. However, the mother didn’t expect this trip would change her own perception of the world. But it did. All thanks to an empathetic great ape who took the time to engage with Gemma and her child during a very intimate moment.

While the guys were visiting the Schönbrunn Zoo, Gemma’s boy got hungry. She sat down by the window of an orangutan enclosure to breastfeed her child and that’s when the magic happened.

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Image credits: Gemma Copeland

Image credits: Gemma Copeland

“My breastfeeding experiences in public have been diverse, some people looking curious, others content and the odd negative one,” Gemma told Bored Panda. “Once I was asked to cover my little boy whilst he was feeding to which I responded by handing over a spare muslin and asking them if they minded covering their shallow-minded selves. This quickly ended the situation leaving me to enjoy my coffee and bonding with my son.”

Luckily, this time people appreciated the beauty of nursing happening in front of them. And you probably couldn’t find a more fitting place for something like this to happen than the Schönbrunn Zoo. Founded in 1752, it is the oldest continuously operating zoo in the world. It prides itself on being a scientifically administered establishment that sees its main purpose as a center for species conservation and general nature conservation. The preserved structures of the baroque era, which have been complemented in the last years with elements of modern architecture, create a unique atmosphere by preserving a good impression of the 18th-century menagerie-buildings.

“I would like to think Vienna chose us as opposed to us choosing Vienna,” Gemma said. “When searching for our trip, I had no destination in mind but it proved to be a life-changing choice as little did we know what was about to happen.”

Image credits: Gemma Copeland

When Gemma’s post went viral, she wanted to use the exposure for a good cause

Image credits: Gemma Copeland

Copeland’s story reached nearly 5 million people. While trying to figure out how to convert this into something tangible, Gemma decided to give back to the beautiful creatures whose relative is responsible for all of this in the first place.

“I’ve been given an opportunity and a platform to attempt to make a change [so] I’d like to raise money for the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of the orangutan,” the animal lover said.

The woman urges people to think about donating to the Borneo Orangutan Rescue who is dedicated to saving these critically endangered animals

Image credits: gemma6706

Interestingly, these great apes share 96.4% of our genes and are highly intelligent creatures; they use sophisticated tools and construct elaborate sleeping nests each night from branches and foliage.

Orangutans have been extensively studied for their advanced learning abilities, and research suggests there may even be distinctive cultures within populations. Currently, all three orangutan species are critically endangered. Sadly, human activities are to blame for the severe declines in populations and ranges. Threats to wild orangutans include poaching, habitat destruction driven by palm oil cultivation, and the illegal pet trade.

Image credits: gemma6706

“For all our modern advances, this moment proved to me that although species apart, we’re just the same,” the mother said. “We are all equal. The nurturing care of our children is paramount, regardless of race, gender, and even species. At that moment, we were one.”

Here’s what people said about Gemma’s special moment