When cute videos hit the internet, there’s always the temptation to watch, laugh, and share without giving a second thought. Take, for instance, this video of an orangutan supposedly pretending to be a ghost.
At first watch, one might think, “Hah! This orangutan is just like us, and loves entertaining us!” But this is far from the truth. The orangutan from this video lives at the Twycross Zoo near Birmingham, UK. Are orangutans native to the UK? Surely not. Therefore, this orangutan was ripped from his family in the wild, and will never get to enjoy the close family bonds or friendships that they would normally experience.
Animals in captivity also often display signs of stereotypic behavior, or stress-induced responses to confinement. These abnormal, repetitive behaviors – when a captive animal moves from side to side, lashes out in an unpredictable manner, or deliberately injures themselves – are almost never witnessed in their wild counterparts. While this orangutan pretending to be ghost may seem amusing, such actions may very well be a result of a life spent in captivity.
Want to know the truth? If we continue to take these intelligent, complex animals from their natural habits, all while destroying their homes due the destructive toll of palm oil, these magnificent animals will truly be nothing more than ghosts.