Scientists observed a wild male orangutan rubbing chewed-up leaves of a medicinal plant that has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties to treat a facial wound - the first known observation of a wild animal doing so. Rakus lives in the Gunung Leuser National Park on the island of Sumatra. He used akar kuning or yellow root, which people throughout Southeast Asia use to treat malaria, diabetes and other conditions. Five days after the wound was noticed, it had closed, and less than a month later “healed without any signs of infection,” said Isabelle Laumer, a primatologist with Germany’s Max Planck Institute of Animal Behaviour. She hopes the study of Rakus will help create more appreciation — and desire to protect — the Sumatran orangutan, a critically endangered species.

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