Are you a member?


When orangutans are out and about in Forest School at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Central Kalimantan, they are provided with food-based enrichment items that prompt them to explore, discover, and extract food. This requires them to put some effort and thought into how to forage for food, before reaping a delicious ‘reward’. This is an essential part of cognitive development and skills acquisition.

In this photo, orangutans were given a piece of bamboo with a frozen pumpkin filling. To obtain the inner filling of the bamboo, the orangutans had to either insert their fingers to poke it out or use some sort of tool to dig it out. The ways in which these Forest School students extracted the pumpkin varied from individual to individual. 

Paulinus (pictured in the middle), one of the smallest orangutans in Forest School Group 3, preferred to use his fingers to dig the yummy frozen pumpkin out of the bamboo shell. Alexandra (on the right), on the other hand, wasn’t quite sure how to proceed in eating the treat, hence she closely watched Paulinus to learn how he would access the tasty treat.

Observation is one of the many ways these great apes learn from each other socially, with proximity to the activity being undertaken within 2 metres and a keen focus on the demonstrator’s actions. Nevertheless, some orangutans try to not rely on watching others, but rather will try to figure things out on their own. Like Bumi, pictured here at the back and to the left, who has a very confused look on his face.

Think others should hear about this? Share it!

image image image