Thursday June 13, 2024

Wounded orangutan treats injury by using medicinal plant

Wild primate seen treating wound with medicinal herb for the first time

By Web Desk
May 05, 2024
Orangutan in the wild applied medicinal plant to heal its own injury. — NPR/File
Orangutan in the wild applied medicinal plant to heal its own injury. — NPR/File

For the first time ever, scientists witnessed an orangutan treat its own wounds with a medicinal plant, CNN reported.

This is the first time such behaviour by a wild animal has been recorded or seen.

Orangutans belong to the Ape family of primates but are considered different from monkeys. Other animals from the great ape family are chimpanzees, gorillas, and bonobos.

The incident occurred in Indonesia in 2022 and has only recently been published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

Scientists were tracking a male orangutan nicknamed Rakus at Gunung Leuser National Park in Indonesia's Aceh province when they noticed an open wound on his face.

Three days later, they noticed him chewing the leaves of a plant called Fibraurea tinctoria.

In the journal, the scientists wrote, “The orangutan began chewing the leaves without swallowing them and using his fingers to apply the plant juice from his mouth directly onto his facial wound."

When flies began to land on the site, Rakus "smeared the entire wound with the plant pulp until the red flesh was fully covered with the green leaf material."

The next day, Rakus was seen eating the vine's leaves again, and a week later, his wound had closed up, subsequently healing without any sign of infection.