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Orangutan Seen Treating Facial Wound With Medicinal Plant In World First

Orangutan Seen Treating Facial Wound With Medicinal Plant In World First

Rakus the orangutan treating his wound using plant leaves.

Humans are the only known animals who treat their wounds by using medicines and applying balms. But in Indonesia, scientists observed an orangutan intentionally using a medicinal plant to treat a wound on its face. According to cnn, this is the first time that such a behavior has been documented in any species other than humans. The orangutan named Rakus first chewed the leaves of a climbing plant called Akar Kuning and then repeatedly applied the juice on the wound on his face.

A paper documenting this has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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

Study lead author Isabelle Laumer said they are “very excited” by the observations that were recorded in June 2022 in the Suaq Balimbing research area in Gunung Leuser National Park, Indonesia.

“This possibly innovative behavior presents the first report of active wound management with a biologically active plant in a great ape species,” she told the outlet.

The scientists observed that the 30-year-old male did not smear any other part of his body, leading them to conclude that the animal was treating its injury, as per Science Alert.

Analysis of the plant’s chemical composition has revealed antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antioxidant properties that are all helpful for wound healing.

Researchers believe the orangutan sustained the wound in a fight with another male. Rakus also spent half of the day resting during the recovery period, which also surprised the team.