Orangutan stuns zookeepers by becoming pregnant while on the pill

A Sumatran orangutan at Adelaide zoo has fallen pregnant, despite being on contraceptives.

Karta the 34-year-old orangutan is due early in 2017. Jodie Ellen, a senior primate keeper, announced the “exciting but nerve-wracking” news on the zoo’s Facebook page. “It wasn’t a planned pregnancy,” she said. “Mother Nature actually intervened.”

Sumatran orangutan Karta at Adelaide zoo. Karta has become pregnant while on the contraceptive pill, which keepers say is ‘exciting but nerve-wracking’. Photograph: AAP

So in the trailer for The Jungle Book we see King Louie…and through an article John Favreau states that he is in fact not an orangutan but an extinct ape by the name of Gigantopithecus. 

This was done because orangutans do not, in fact, live in India. But  Gigantopithecus did. 

I love the idea of this giant living fossil leading a community of monkeys who view him as a god. 

Nap-time: Rickina and Rocky snooze 

Orphaned baby orangutans safe to sleep in peace.

They look the picture of contentment as they doze on the ground.

So it’s hard to believe these orphaned orangutans have been rescued from a life of cruelty and hunger.

Five-month-old Rickina has a machete wound scar on her head.

(Picture: Thomas Burns/IAR/Caters)

Orangutans, With iPads

The BBC writes of an experiment at the Milwaukee zoo where orangutans are given access to iPads so that they can use basic drawing apps, and kick back and watch some primate video.

The next goal is to wire the zoo and have the orangutans video chat with others elsewhere.

Via the BBC:

“Orangutans love looking at each other,” said [conservationist Richard] Zimmerman, adding that one of the apes, 31-year-old MJ, is a fan of David Attenborough programmes.

“The orangutans loved seeing videos of themselves - so there is a little vanity going on - and they like seeing videos of the orangutans who are in the other end of the enclosure.

"So if we incorporate cameras, they can watch each other.”

Other centres, zoos and sanctuaries are said to want to get involved “immediately” and are just waiting for more devices to become available.

“We’ve been limited to Milwaukee because we haven’t been able to get enough iPads,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“We’ve been waiting for the iPad 3 to come out to make the iPad 1 really obsolete, so we can pick up a few.

Image: An orangutan, with an iPad, via ExtremeTech

No big deal, just Hanging Out With Orangutans.

Pictured Above: Dema, a 26-day-old endangered Sumatran Tiger cub cuddles up to five-month-old female orangutan, Irma, at the Taman Safari Indonesia Animal Hospital, February 26, 2007, in West Java, Indonesia. Irma and another orangutan born at the hospital were rejected by their mothers. Two Sumatran tiger cubs (including Dema) have also been rejected by their mother. They are all looked after by staff at the hospital.


Orangutan Cracks Up At Magic Trick

An orangutan at Barcelona zoo watches a member of the public perform a magic trick. The man shows the ape that he is placing something into a cup, and after a nifty sleight of hand, he then reveals the cup has nothing in it. The orangutan takes a moment to realise that magic has taken place and guffaws with delight.

via: The Guardian

How Smart are Orangutans?

Along with our other great ape cousins – the gorillas, chimps, and bonobos – orangutans belong to our Hominidae family tree, which stretches back 14 million years. As the only great apes from Asia, orangutans have adapted to a life high in the rainforest canopies. 

Many of the skills they learn are transmitted through the special bond they have with their mothers – the most extended in the animal kingdom next to humans. Orangutan mothers usually give birth to one baby at a time, waiting up to 8 years before having another. This gives the young, who begin as fully dependent infants, plenty of time to learn how to climb and distinguish the hundreds of plants and fruits that make up their diet. Female orangutans even stay with their mothers into their teen years to learn child-rearing.

As they grow up, orangutans also develop a complex set of cooperative social skills by interacting with their peers and siblings. Much like ourselves, young orangutans involuntarily mimic the facial expressions and emotions of their playmates, with behaviors that closely parallel human smiling and laughter.

Once they finally venture out on their own, orangutans continue to develop their resourcefulness, putting the skills they’ve learned into practice. Adults build a new nest each night by carefully weaving twigs together, topping them with soft leaves, pillows and blankets. This process requires dexterity, coordination, and an eye for design.  

Orangutans also use a variety of tools to make their lives in the jungle easier. They turn branches into flyswatters and backscratchers; construct umbrellas when it rains; make gloves from leafy pads ; and even use leaves as bandages to dress their wounds.

But orangutan intelligence goes far beyond jungle survival. Research in controlled environments has shown that orangutans are self-aware, being one of the few species to recognize their own reflections. They also display remarkable foresight, planning, and cognition.

While orangutans are able to pass cognitive tests with flying colors, there are certain problems that they need our help to solve.  Indonesia has the world’s highest rate of deforestation, and millions of acres of rainforest are burned annually to support the logging and palm oil industries.  Deforestation exposes the 30,000 orangutans remaining in the wild to poachers. They kill mothers so that baby orangutans can be sold as exotic pets.

In Malay, the word orangutan translates literally to “the person of the forest” – a reminder of our common lineage. And despite orangutans being some of the smartest animals on Earth, outsmarting their extinction requires the creativity, empathy, and foresight that our species share.

From the TED-Ed Lesson How smart are orangutans? - Lu Gao

Animation by Anton Bogaty

A young male orangutan makes the 30-metre climb up the thickest root of the strangler fig high above the canopy in Gunung Palung national park, one of the few protected orangutan strongholds in Indonesian Borneo. Laman had to do three days of climbing to position several GoPro cameras that he could trigger remotely. This shot was the one he had long visualised, looking down on the orangutan within its forest home. Photograph: Tim Laman