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A Baby Orangutan Saved in Indonesia Brought Up to Act Like a Dog

  • 17
  • 09
  • 2016

Four years ago, an Indonesian forest was being prepared to become a palm oil plantation. During the labor, the  workmen heard and spotted a small crying orangutan among the trees.

One of the men had the best intentions. He wanted to help her, so he took her home.

He named her Utat and let her play with his children as if she were another pet. For four years, she spent her time mostly with the pet dogs of the family. So it was only natural that she would adopt a dog’s behavior.


But, as those four years passed, Utat the orangutan grew to a point where she couldn’t be carried. The man feared for his family and wouldn’t let her play with his children anymore. He was even afraid for himself because he thought she could bite him at any moment.

At this time the man made the tough, but smart, decision to take Utat to a nearby animal rescue facility.

The veterinarian with the International Animal Rescue (IAR), Ayu Budi Handayani, noticed Utat was not in the best shape.

orangutan and a dog

“Utat was suffering from very sparse hair and dry, flaky skin — and she also smelt very bad,” Handayani said. “This was no doubt a result of her diet: The poor creature was mostly fed on rice and salted fish, or rice on its own, flavored with monosodium glutamate (MSG).”

Because of the environment Utat grew up in, she also had no idea she was a wild animal and had no trace of normal orangutan behavior.

“Having been without her mother since she was a tiny baby, she has never been taught the skills she will need to survive in the wild,” IAR wrote. “Now she will have to learn from the other orangutans.”


Alan Knight, CEO of IAR said: “Utat is at the beginning of a long journey back to the wild. But we are hopeful that, like most of the orangutans in our care, she will eventually be able to return to her home in the forest and live as nature intended.”

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