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Orangutan Uses Natural Medicine – Topical Tuesdays Activities from First News

image of Orangutan Uses Natural Medicine – Topical Tuesdays Activities from First News
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A wild orangutan has been spotted using natural medicine to heal a wound on its face – sparking fresh talk about the intelligence of great apes. Scientists in Indonesia, South East Asia, observed a male orangutan called Rakus who’d suffered a nasty wound to his face. To treat it, Rakus ripped leaves from a medicinal jungle plant and chewed them up to squish out their juices. He used his fingers to dab the juices on his wound, then smeared the chewed-up leaves onto his face to cover it up, like a plaster.


An orangutan using natural medicine is pretty impressive. Isn’t it time we learnt how to bring nature to our aid more often? Do you think we should be using more plant-based remedies? Shouldn’t we be teaching ourselves how to find and prepare leaves, roots and flowers to cure our ailments? Or is it important to make specially prepared medicines in a laboratory? Shouldn’t we be using treatments that have been deliberately created to tackle specific illnesses? Have we already shown that we can make medications that work better than anything found in the wild? What do you think?

Writing skills

Use the information in the article to create a set of instructions for treating a wound in the same way that Rakus the orangutan did. Remember to include a brief introduction, a ‘What you need’ section and a set of numbered points that use imperative verbs and sequencing adverbials.


Write a diary entry about going to the doctor and discovering that it is an ape rather than a human GP. You can decide whether or not the ‘doctor’ can talk. Obviously, you can have some fun with this but focus on using your best descriptive language in order to make the piece clear and entertaining for the reader. Remember, also, to use the first person and the past tense.


Research medicinal plants that are commonly available in the UK. List five of them, briefly outlining where they can be found and what they can be used to treat.

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