Capitve Orangutans Must Re-Learn How To Climb (Video)

A newly renovated zoo in Holland recently called upon Olympic gymnast Epke Zonderland to re-teach captive orangutans how to swing from tree to tree.

Orangutans in their natural habitat spend all day climbing and swinging in the trees, and rarely ever touch the ground.

The primates housed in the Ouwehands Dierenpark Rhenen zoo are penned inside for long periods of time to avoid icy winter temperatures, and as a result they are slowly forgetting how to climb the trees in their outdoor enclosure.

The zoo recently changed to format of the organgutans cage to allow the orangutans to swing from tree to tree in an outdoor setting above the public, but when released into the new setting, zoo workers discovered that the primates had forgotten the skill of climbing.

Watch this video of Zonderland showing the orangutans his skills in the hope of re-teaching them how to swing. The gymnast enjoyed playing with the orangutans but said the apes are probably a little afraid of the new situation.

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Image Credit: Flickr - exfordy


Christine Daniels


LMj Sunshine

Very sad, hope things have changed, thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Very sad, hope things have changed, thank you.

Gordana Roljic
Gordana Roljic5 years ago

obviously, human can change the instincts of other animal species, even in primates ...

Lynn C.
Lynn C.5 years ago

Wonderful they have realized the problem and set up a rehab for them. It's hard to see them in zoos but wonder what their chances for survival would be in the decimated forests they used to live in.

Nellie K A.
Nellie K Adaba6 years ago

I saw this 1 week ago and it was great

kathy k.
kathy k.6 years ago

Protected or Abused?

Mervi R.
Mervi R.6 years ago

So sad that thay had forgotten how to be orangutans...

gerlinde p.
gerlinde p.6 years ago

very sad situation for these lovely creatures.

Carol A.
Carol A.6 years ago

how sad.