World’s first orangutan heals facial wound with medicinal plant

Ragus orangutan uses plant leaves to heal its wound.

Humans are the only known animal to treat their wounds by applying medicines and applying ointments. But in Indonesia, scientists observed an orangutan deliberately using a medicinal plant to treat a wound on its face. According to CNN, this is the first time such behavior has been documented in any species other than humans. The orangutan Ragus first chewed the leaves of the climbing plant Agar Kuning and repeatedly applied the juice to a wound on its face.

An article documenting this has been published in the journal Scientific reports.

Ragus then covered the wound with chewed leaves, which are used in traditional medicine to treat ailments such as diarrhoea, diabetes and malaria. CNN Scientists are quoted as saying.

Study lead author Isabelle Lamar said they were “extremely excited” by the observations recorded in June 2022 at the Suak Palimping Research Area in Indonesia’s Gunung Leuser National Park.

“This potentially novel behavior provides the first report of active wound management with a biologically active plant in a great ape species,” he told the outlet.

The scientists noticed that the 30-year-old male did not coat any other part of his body, leading them to conclude that the animal was treating its injury. Scientific alert.

Analysis of the plant’s chemical composition has revealed antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antioxidant properties, all of which are helpful in wound healing.

Researchers believe the orangutan was injured in a fight with another male. Ragus was on half-day rest during the recovery period, which surprised even the teammates.

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