Clever Orangutan Sneakily Steals a Boat and Leaves Its Passengers Stranded as He Paddles Away

Orangutan deep in thought
© Everything I Do/

Written by Hannah Crawford

Published: January 11, 2024

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Wildlife photographers and videographers who dedicate their lives to help bridge the gap between humans and animals have an important task. From their research and film, we can enter the world of the wild. And see firsthand how they live without the threat of being in danger from being so close. 

However, it’s not always the danger these wildlife enthusiasts come across. Sometimes, it’s the best interaction they’ve ever had with animals. Here at A-Z Animals, we always say that animals never cease to amaze us. Let’s not miss what this orangutan did in the documentary below.

Click the Video Below!

Primate Suspect

What would you do if an orangutan stole your boat and left you stranded on the side of the river? Thankfully, these guys handled the situation with ease.

Posted by IMAX on Monday, June 15, 2020

Boat Stolen at Camp Leakey

The video posted in the above section brings us to Central Borneo at Camp Leakey in Indonesia. This is an Orangutan Foundation International that was founded in 1971 and houses various orangutans. A producer and writer of the “Born to Be Wild,” Drew Fellman, took a team out to Camp Leakey. They are going to film orangutans. The IMAX Facebook page posted this video, and it has left their Facebook followers laughing hysterically after this footage was released. 

Primate Suspect Found

Okay, the pun was definitely intended there. And we will see why in a moment. To get upriver to the sanctuary it takes about four hours by boat. However, the documentary team needed to get things moving quicker, so they rented a few speed boats that got them there in less than half the time. 

Once there they got the footage of the orangutans they needed for their documentary, they packed everything back up and headed to the docks to head back. Only when they arrive do they notice that the boats are completely gone. They look further upriver and see an orangutan inside one of the boats that is paddling it! At 56 seconds, we are able to see a photograph of this orangutan, seemingly happy that he was able to steal the boat from this team. 

Are Orangutans Intellegient? 

Are Humans Mammals

Orangutans can live up to 40 years.

©Everything I Do/

We know that animals are smart, but just how smart are they? Not only was this orangutan inside of a boat(Because, after all, any animal can climb onto a boat.). But he knew to unhook the boat from the dock, and he was actually paddling it upstream. 

According to a study by the American Association for Anatomy, Van Schaik had the following to say about the orangutan’s intelligence. “There is no doubt about it: orangutans are smart, regardless of exactly how you define that term. Whether intelligence is defined as creative problem solving, uncanny memory, or thinking (mental stimulation), orangutans get high marks.”

In moments like the above, the only thing we as humans can do is be in awe of what animals like orangutans are capable of. Especially since all three species of orangutans are considered to be endangered or critically endangered, there might sadly come a time when we will no longer be able to enjoy these beautifully intelligent creatures if we do not do our part to help keep their species alive.

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About the Author

Hannah Crawford is a writer at A-Z Animals where she focuses on reptiles, mammals, and locations in Africa. Hannah has been researching and writing about animals and various countries for over eight years. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Communication\Performance Studies from Pensacola Christian College, which she earned in 2015. Hannah is a resident in Florida, and enjoys theatre, poetry, and growing her fish tank.

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