Orangutan from Borneo Photographed Using a Spear Tool to Fish, Imitating Local Fishermen

You would think that only humans have the ability to use tools on performing certain tasks, but the animals have this ability as well. This was shown when an orangutan used a spear tool to fish.

Yes, it is a rare occurrence to see an animal using a tool since it is related to higher mental processes such planning actions. The DNA of the orangutans is 97% similar to the one of the humans and because of that they are considered the most intelligent primates. Knowing this fact many scientists have investigated their tool-related decision-making processes.

The orangutan that was captured by camera how he uses spear tool to fish is living in Borneo on the island of Kaja near the Gohong River. It learned this skill by watching the locals fishing on that river.

This photograph wasreleased in the 2008 book Thinkers of the Jungle: The Orangutan Report by Schuster, Smits, and Ullal. Here it is how the authors described this image:

“…a male orangutan, clinging precariously to overhanging branches, flails the water with a pole, trying desperately to spear a passing fish…The extraordinary image, a world exclusive, was taken in Borneo on the island of Kaja… This individual had seen locals fishing with spears on the Gohong River.

Although the method required too much skill for him to master, he was later able to improvise by using the pole to catch fish already trapped in the locals’ fishing lines.”

Orangutan from Borneo Photographed Using a Spear Tool to Fish, Imitating Local Fishermen

What is more interesting the fact that this ape does not feed on fish, and he did not catch any fish but imitated the actions of the humans. This species feed on leaves, fruits, flowers, and insects.

He did not catch anything as according to the 2013 Harvard study apes do not have the needed anatomical features to perform high-speed overhand motions.

In 1892, the first discovery of the apes using tools was by the anthropologist Biruté Galdikas who monitored the tool-use behavior in wild Bornean orangutans in the Tanjungn Puting National Park.

In 1994, Carel van Schaik also noticed orangutans developing tools to help themselves eat in Gunung Leuser National Park, in the northwest Sumatra.