There’s no doubt that orangutans are highly intelligent. They’re able to build sophisticated tools, and some are even able to learn and use signs to communicate linguistically.
But perhaps most astonishing is the orangutan’s emotional intelligence, and how much their capacity for love and affection matches our own.
Rajang, a 47-year-old orangutan who lives in England’s Colchester Zoo, has recently won the hearts of people everywhere. A video of him has gone wildly viral; in it, he can be seen kissing the belly of a pregnant visitor, Maisie Knight, through the glass of his enclosure.
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And though we cannot know for sure what this gesture meant, it seems pretty likely that it was an intentional show of affection on Rajang’s part, that he was aware of the presence of the unborn child. After all, when Knight’s partner, Jamie Clarke, but his own belly to the glass, Rajang shot him “a dirty look.”
Sorry, dad. Rajang doesn’t think you’re nearly as cute as your baby-to-be.
This isn’t the first time an orangutan has demonstrated affection or camaraderie with a human mother. You may remember the following video that spread like wildfire a while ago:
If that doesn't melt your heart, you can probably learn a thing or two from the orangutan.
It’s worth noting, however, that male orangutans in the wild have no part in raising their young, and one might assume that they likewise lack any parental instincts. Maybe orangutans brought up among humans are learning a special degree of empathy and companionship?
Who knows how far they’ll come in time.
If you adore orangutans as much as we do, consider making a donation to help protect these critically endangered creatures.
Let's love their babies like they love ours.