Orangutan observed treating wound using medicinal plant in world first


Scientists working in Indonesia have observed an orangutan intentionally treating a wound on their face with a medicinal plant, the first time this behavior has been documented.

Rakus, a male Sumatran orangutan, treated a wound on his face by chewing leaves from a climbing plant named Akar Kuning and repeatedly applying the juice to it, according to a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports on Thursday.

Rakus then covered the wound with the chewed up leaves, which are used in traditional medicine to treat illnesses like dysentery, diabetes and malaria, said scientists.

Study lead author Isabelle Laumer, a post-doctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, told CNN that the team were “very excited” by their observations, which took place in June 2022 in the Suaq Balimbing research area in Gunung Leuser National Park, Indonesia.

Although other wild primate species are known to swallow, chew or rub themselves with plants that have medicinal properties, scientists have never seen them used to treat recent wounds.


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