Social/Culture/Education

Self-Treating Orangutan Discovered

In June 2022, a male Sumatran orangutan named Rakus sustained a facial wound below the right eye, apparently during a fight with another male orangutan at a research site in Indonesia. What Rakus did three days later really caught the attention of scientists. Researchers on Thursday described observing how Rakus appeared to treat the wound using a plant known for its pain-relieving properties and for supporting wound healing due to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and antioxidant qualities. “To our knowledge, this is the first documented case of active wound treatment with a plant species with medical properties by a wild animal,” said study senior author Caroline Schuppli, an evolutionary biologist at the institute. The researchers said the orangutan’s wound self-treatment did not appear to be happenstance. “His behavior appeared to be intentional.”