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


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"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".

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!

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.

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.

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

I hear this is really how the planet of the apes started.... ;)