Wild Orang Utan Grabs Rope, Swims To Safety With Baby on Back

orang-utan-grabbing-ropeA wild female orang utan, who was stranded on a tree in the recent floods in Sabah on Borneo Island, grabbed hold of a rope thrown at her and swam to safety with a baby clinging onto her back.

WWF Malaysia captured the remarkable process in a series of picture showing the orang utan swimming to safety while making sure the baby’s head remained above water.

WWF said in a statement that the orang utan mother and her baby had been hanging on to a laran tree for a week due to flood in the area. A unit from the Sabah Wildlife Department was rushed to the site and a rope bridge was immediately set up about four metres from the shore.

Lifeline to a safer place

On seeing this, the orang utan climbed down the tree, grabbed hold of the rope and swam towards the river bank.

orang-utan-swimmingBoth the mother and the baby were fed for 30 minutes before they made their way into the jungle.

“Previous documentation had stated orang-utans to be non-swimmers, supposedly due to their fear of water. However, this new discovery shows that orang-utans are actually able to swim in desperate situations, with the help of a tool,” WWF said.

Wild orang-utans spend 90 per cent of their time on treetops, and very rarely descend to the ground, unless disaster strikes.

Intelligent animal

I always wonder whether orang utans are capable of thinking out complex thoughts. I guess they are.

I don’t think there are many species of wildlife out there which are capable of grasping the concept of “being thrown a lifeline” as convincing as this orang utan mother does.

This incident also demonstrates the orang utan’s ability to differentiate between hostile human beings and the friendly ones, thus it readily accepted help from the wildlife staff.

I doubt she would do the same if the wildlife staff were a group of hunters.

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