Our primate cousins are as clever as wild animals come, and this zoo’s momma orangutan proves it as she sports a new pair of shades!
“If you drop a pair of sunglasses in an orangutan enclosure, don’t be surprised when one tries them on,” shares USA Today August 2. The resulting capture is every bit as excellent as you’re hoping.
“The coolest thing happened when a visitor to a zoo in Indonesia dropped her sunglasses into an orangutan enclosure,” the trade captions of the primate within.
“Oh my God! On no, don’t eat them!” the zoo visitor says as she films in amazement. At first, the orangutan gives her sunglasses a bit of a chomp, testing them curiously. Then, to the surprise of everyone present – the sweet mother orangutan puts the sunglasses exactly where they go – over her eyes!
“Oh my God!” she repeats. “She’s holding them up!” But she does more than hold them up! As her baby watches, the mother orangutan sports the shades proudly. She gives a look out into the distance, and her fate is sealed as the coolest primate on the planet.
Watch the fantastic footage for yourself below, courtesy of USA Today and the Associated Press:
If you drop a pair of sunglasses in an orangutan enclosure, don’t be surprised when one tries them on.Associated Press, USA TODAY
Further Footage with Sunglasses Shows Orangutan’s Intelligence
Other major trades have been quick to pick up the viral video, showing off the orangutan momma’s intelligence. ABC News even has extended footage which shows the mother stopping her baby from taking her new shades!
The sunglasses-laden encounter, which took place at a zoo in West Java, Indonesia, finally ends when momma decides she’s had enough – tossing the shades off into the distance.
From placing the sunglasses onto the bridge of her nose, to stopping her child from taking them, there are many fascinating displays of primate intelligence on display here.
The orangutan’s immediate placement of the sunglasses over her eyes is surprising at first. But our close primate cousins are incredibly intuitive and share many of the same luxuries of higher cognitive function that we homo sapiens do.
Just think – how many humans in sunglasses has this orangutan seen staring at her whilst in her enclosure? Tens of thousands, surely. As such, she’s more than aware of what they’re for – as orangutans can decipher the difference between an individual and a worn object. The species, like chimpanzees, has even been observed making and using crude tools in the wild. And what are sunglasses if not a simple tool we humans use?
And take it from this wildlife technician who has worked for both zoos and wildlife rescues: While zoos are never the first fate we wish on our wild cousins, the right zoos do incredible work for conservation of endangered species – of which orangutans are. Without our accredited zoos worldwide, many species – from the orangutan to the clouded leopard – would be extinct today.