Incredible moments between ape and human mothers captured on camera.
Orangutans are extremely intuitive, sentient beings.
Native to Indonesia and Malaysia, these wild animals have high cognitive abilities and it's displayed in diverse ways: they use "tools" to complete certain actions, such as scratching themselves or using leafy branches to create shelter from the rain – similar to that of human beings.
The most intriguing, however, is their fascination with human moms and their babies.
While visiting a zoo in Melbourne, Australia, Elizabeth Hunt Burrett needed to feed her baby. She found a quiet corner where she could nurse, but she had still had company.
Burrett shared an image (below) of the special moment when an orangutan came to watch her nursing her baby. She said the animal did nothing, just intently watched her feed her little one.
Female orangutans, generally, take care of their offspring for, at least, the first two years of their lives.
Infants are completely dependent on their mothers for food and transportation for the duration of these years. Female orangutans are able to nurse their offspring until the age of 8.
The fascination for human mothers and their young doesn't only reside with female orangutans. Even though young orangutans are predominantly raised by their mothers, this male orangutan is completely besotted with this woman's pregnant belly; showing that he knows she bears new life in her tummy.
The word orangutan translated into English is "people of the forest". In the Malay language, orang translates to "people" or "person" and the word "utan" is derived from the Malay word "hutan", which means forest.
The next video clip (below) shows remarkable interaction between another mom and an orangutan at a zoo. The orangutan creates a buzz about this mom's baby; her elation is absolutely phenomenal.
Orangutans have been classified as endangered species, due to deforestation destroying their natural habitats. The Rainforest Action Network released a moving advertisement showing an orangutan and a young deaf girl communicating in sign language via satellite; the orangutan asking the girl for help. Yet another display of these animals' amazing cognitive abilities.
Additional information obtained from Orangutan Foundation International and Sumatran Orangutan Society.
Have you had a special encounter with your baby or child and a "parent" from another species? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story.