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Orangutan Saves Distressed Baby Bird


(YouTube link)

An orangutan saves a tired baby chick with a leaf, then inspects it afterward to makes sure it's all right. There's not a ton of info available about this video (for instance, which zoo this is or when it was filmed), but the important takeaway here is that orangutans are both extraordinarily compassionate and also kind of gross, as evidenced by the first 40 seconds of the clip. How many times did you think the orangutan was going to eat the bird? I'm not gonna lie--I held my breath a few times.

via Pharyngula


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Staff at Dublin Zoo came across the clip – and recognised the orangutan. Dublin Zoo says that the male’s name is Jorong and he was born in Chester Zoo in 1995. He moved to Dublin a year later before moving to Dudly Zoo in 2008 under an international breeding programme.
Dublin Zoo says that while in Dublin, Jorong fathered a female orangutan called Mujur who still lives at the zoo.
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In ape species, and I believe orangatans stand out in this regard, there exists alpha male behavior which appears as compassion or generosity, but is really only the behavior of a creature who is recognized for it's generosity and compassion. If the behavior wasn't rewarded and if the ape did not appear to be more powerful for it, they probably wouldn't do it, because it would have no selfish purpose.

It is the difference between donating a million dollars because I have a hundred million, and donating one dollar because I genuinely care about the other person. That may be my only dollar (note a biblical story that mirrors this). People and animals are generous when they can afford to be and when that generosity or compassion will add more value to themselves, otherwise, they don't.
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that was amazing. i wonder why he prodded it with the leaf first. i guess, i'd do the same thing though - to see if it was alive and also to see what kind of mood it was in. it's strange to see that they are interested in the world around them...beyond their own needs. that was just pure curiousity. he/she was so gentle too. great post.
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