While recently visiting Mount Leuser National Park in Indonesia to observe orangutans in their natural environment, a tour guide named Eddie witnessed an unusual site.
When suddenly caught in a heavy downpour, Eddie noticed that some of the orangutans were actively searching for large caladium leaves.
After watching for a while, he realized that these clever creatures were actually using the giant leaves to shelter themselves and their babies from the storm.
These intelligent orangutan moms had actually made hands-free “umbrellas.”
It is fairly well known that orangutans are capable of both making and using tools in the wild as well as in captivity, but to witness this firsthand was something special.
The Orangutan Conservancy explains that orangutans frequently create tools to aid in foraging or to make their lives a bit easier.
In fact, many people have heard how orangutans will use a stick to go fishing for termites.
The resourcefulness of orangutans points to their intelligence.
According to the Orangutan Conservancy, “It is thought that the orangutan must have a very detailed map of the forest in her mind, and detailed knowledge of the fruiting cycles of many species of trees.”
That is pretty impressive.
Because there is so much knowledge that a baby orangutan must learn in order to survive on its own one day, young orangutans stay with their mothers for a long time.
Both male and female babies will nurse for up to six years! Males will stay with mom for a few more years before venturing off on their own.
Females might remain with their mother until they are well in their teens, learning mothering skills as they watch their younger siblings grow up.
Sadly, Sumatran Orangutans are critically endangered.
Amazing videos like this one remind us just how special these creatures are and should inspire us to do all that we can to ensure the survival of the species.
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