In a video posted on Twitter, a group of baby orangutans is seen interacting with a toy cobra. While the footage itself is endearing, what it captures is the inculcation of survival skills in these infants so as to prepare them for living in the wild. One of these exercises involves snake avoidance.
In an interview with Michelle Desilets about her podcast and radio show “The Wildlife,” Desilets explains the process of teaching orphaned orangutans to live in the wild. Just like humans, the orangutans begin with nursery school, where they learn climbing skills. Then it’s off to Forest School One, where they learn survival skills like finding food and knowing what dangers to avoid. This is the stage seen in the video above.
Forest School Two teaches independence, and there is even an equivalent of “university”, where they learn to live on their own, but are supported if they get into trouble.