Orangutan attempts to fish

This is a pretty awesome story. Adding to the support for the fact that humans are the most cultural animal, as opposed to the only one, an orangutan in Borneo was seen attempting to catch fish from a stream with a spear. He apparently was attempting to imitate the hunting behavior of some local humans. Make sure to follow the link, as it has a pretty impressive photograph.

It just goes to show that the capacity for cultural transmission is one more trait that evolved by slow degrees. Other animals have demonstrated the ability to teach skills to each other and to their offspring. Some examples:

  • Chimpanzees using a complex set of tools to “fish” for termites
  • Orcas teach their young how to fish, and how to make group-specific vocalizations

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2 Responses to “Orangutan attempts to fish”

  1. Richard Zimmerman Says:

    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!

  2. soulbiscuit Says:

    Thanks for that comment, Rich. I suppose it’s easy for most of us to forget the plight that so many of our closest cousins face. Mountain gorillas are in similar danger.

    I will be checking out “Orangutan Island,” and I encourage anyone else who may be reading this to check out Orangutan Outreach.

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