Orangutans Are Amazing


This is a photograph of a male orangutan attempting to spear a fish.

It is believed that this male has seen fish spearing by local fish spearing men. This is on Kaja Island, in Borneo. Quite a few of the apes in this area are “rehabilitated” having been earlier rescued from human possession. It is often among these rehabilitated apes that we see remarkable behavior of this kind.

This method never worked out for this guy, but reports are that he later figured out how to use spearing to poach fish already caught on lines. This photo is actually published in the book Thinkers of the Jungle. The news report is here. Hat tip: Jenny Zick


  1. #1 Romeo Vitelli
    April 29, 2008

    “reports are that he later figured out how to use spearing to poach fish already caught on lines”

    So his experiences with humans have turned him into a simian delinquent? So much for “rehabilitation”.

  2. #2 Transient Reporter
    April 29, 2008

    Wow, that’s amazing. I bet Ben Stein couldn’t do that.

  3. #3 Richard Zimmerman
    April 29, 2008

    The orangutan pictured is just one of hundreds living at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, which is operated by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation in Borneo (Indonesia) and managed by Lone Droscher Nielsen.

    Kaja is a small island in the middle of the Rongan River where several dozen orangutans are living until they can be released back into a safe section of the rainforest. The problem is that due to the unchecked spreading of palm oil plantations, the forest is being cut down and orangutans are being slaughtered. This orangutan, like the 650 others at Nyaru Menteng, is an orphan. He watched as his mother was murdered and his forest home was destroyed.

    You can see him and the others on the series Orangutan Island on Animal Planet.

    Because of deforestation by the palm oil industry, orangutans are predicted to be extinct in the wild in less than 10 years. To learn more about orangutans and how to help them, please visit the Orangutan Outreach website at redapes.org.

    Thanks, Rich

    Richard Zimmerman
    Director, Orangutan Outreach
    Reach out and save the orangutans!

  4. #4 Gerry L
    April 29, 2008

    That’s a very young male. Give him a little time. It takes young chimps a long time to master nut cracking. Spear fishing is trickier.

  5. #5 tincture
    April 30, 2008

    How long until they figure out how to drive? After that it’s only a matter of time before they’re running unlicensed taxis and kidnapping tourists.

  6. #6 John
    April 30, 2008

    Thank you for this.

    After clicking a few links I now have my new desktop wallpaper.


  7. #7 luke
    May 2, 2008

    Hmmm….. We should be afraid, very afraid.

    I hear this is really how the planet of the apes started…. 😉