New Footage Shows A Wild Orangutan Using A Saw To Cut A Tree In Half


Tom Hale

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

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John Downer Productions/BBC/Steve Downer

Tool use in animals is often regarded as a sign of intelligence. Chimps do it, gorillas do it, even lab rats are known to do it. But none can make DIY-work look quite so skillful as the orangutans of Southeast Asia.

This incredible new footage shows an orangutan using a handsaw to cut a tree branch in half, even using her feet as a vice and clearing away the sawdust as she works.


This behavior has been observed and filmed before, which you can see in some brilliant old footage of David Attenborough hanging out with an orangutan using tools, and, bizarrely, washing its socks. It's believed that the rescued orangutan learned to use a saw after being exposed to and observing people building huts in the area during the 1990s.

However, this new footage shows a completely different individual. Most remarkable of all, though, is this is a totally free-living orangutan that was born in the wild. 

This new video clip comes from episode two of the animal documentary television series Spy In the Wild. This revolutionary new BBC program uses animatronic animals fitted with high-definition cameras, revealing never-before-seen footage of wildlife, up close and personal. You can find out more about the show, and the animatronics they used right here.


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