These Orangutan Videos Show off How Smart the Critically Endangered Primates Are

Orangutan in a tree in Indonesia

Photo: matejh/Depositphotos

Orangutans are majestic primates who share 97% of their DNA with humans. These deliberate and capable animals are known for their ingenuity and ability to use simple logic. Unfortunately, both Bornean and Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered due to deforestation, fires, poaching, and the illegal pet trade. Luckily, there are organizations like Borneo Orangutan Survival Australia (BOSA) that are working for the survival of the species.

While the non-profit works to protect existing rainforest habitat and rescue, rehabilitate, and reintroduce orangutans into the wild, a large part of its mission is to educate the public about these incredible animals. BOSA often posts videos that show the remarkable behavior of these primates, providing an important reminder of what we stand to lose if we don't come to their rescue.

In one video, we join volunteers as they meet up with rescued orangutans at a sanctuary in Borneo. It's incredible to see the primates in their own habitat, following the boat as it floats down the river and gratefully extending a hand to accept the food offered. Another informational video shows how orangutans build their nests. Their careful foraging and skillful weaving are just further demonstration of their intelligence.

Part of the important work BOSA does is to equip orphaned orangutans with the life skills they need to survive in the wild. It's a critical issue, as many orangutans lose their families at a young age. In this “jungle school,” orphaned orangutans learn to forage, recognize predators, build nests, and much more. Once they “graduate,” they are then able to be released into the wild. Clips of these orphaned orangutans fill the organization's Instagram feed and are an incredible look at how these primates learn.

With fewer than 14,000 Sumatran orangutans and 57,000 Bornean orangutans left in the wild, BOSA's work is more important than ever. Orangutans face an uphill battle. In just 16 years, from 1999 to 2015, more than half of Borneo's orangutan population was wiped out. According to BOSA, without effective habitat protection, the species will be extinct in 10 to 20 years. By donating to these organizations and learning more about these primates, you can do your part to turn back the tide.

Orangutans are incredible primates that are closely related to humans.

Unfortunately, both Bornean and Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered.

By posting videos of their behaviors, Borneo Survival Australia hopes to raise awareness.

The non-profit runs a “jungle school” to teach orphaned orangutans life skills.

Then, they are released into the wild.

Borneo Orangutan Survival Australia: Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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