The orangutan, who is staying at Camp Leakey, a scientific research and orangutan preservation center, observes a human doing laundry and decides to help out.
With her child on her back, she begins scrubbing a shirt, using a brush, and soap before ringing it out. How many people do you know who can do this?
Both species of orangutans, Bornean and Sumatran, are endangered with declining populations due to hunting, illegal wildlife trade, and habitat lost from the palm oil industry. Recent estimates put the Bornean population at 41,000 and the Sumatran population at 7,500. According to the video, orangutans share almost 97 percent of our DNA, making them very close cousins of the human species.
If orangutans are capable of doing a chore we all dread to do, shouldn’t we extend them some sympathy and make sure they don’t go extinct? Certainly we can appreciate their ability to learn to do laundry when so many teenagers out there never seem to grasp this chore!