Orangutans watch over their children for longer periods than any other primate besides humans. On average, most organs tans will care for and teach their younglings about the ways of life for around nine years. With that in mind, it may not come as much of a surprise that this 42-year-old orangutan mother continues to watch after her third offspring.
While nine years is a considerable amount of time for parental guidance in the animal kingdom, orangutan parents are especially hard-pressed to teach their offspring everything they know before the child grows into an adult. Among the things will learn are finding food, discerning edible plants from poisonous ones, and ensuring that the branches they climb on are strong enough to carry their weight.
But scavenging and moving around aren’t the only steps orangutans need to take to survive in the harsh wilderness alone. They also need to become adept at building nests and shelters to protect themselves from the wet conditions that almost always plague the rainforest.
After the mother feels confident enough in her child’s abilities, the youngling can go off on its own to begin a new life. Assuming that orangutan survives, it could live to be up to 50 old, and it will pass on everything it knows to its own offspring as the circle of life would dictate.