Burn Victim Shocked by Orangutan’s Careful Inspection of Her Scars

Colin Fredericson
By Colin Fredericson
August 16, 2017US News
Burn Victim Shocked by Orangutan’s Careful Inspection of Her Scars
An Orangutan is seen at a zoo in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Photo by Dimas Ardian /Getty Images)

An orangutan amazed zoo visitors by the concerned way it interacted with a woman about the burns that cover her body.

Burn victim Darci Miller visited the Indiana Zoo in between treatments she was receiving from a nearby medical center. There she had a touching experience with Rocky when she went to the orangutan exhibit, CBS News reported. Rocky is a 12-year-old orangutan that lives at the Indianapolis Zoo.

In video captured from their interaction, Rocky can be seen pointing at Miller’s bandages and examining the wounds closely when she reveals them to him. He appears very concerned about his new human friend. The experience brightened Miller’s day.

“This day made me feel really good about myself,” said Miller to Fox 59.

On May 5, 2015, Darci Miller was burned by a gas fire she lit to destroy trash in her backyard. She was hospitalized for three weeks and was in a coma for nine days.

She’d arrived from Greencastle, Indiana, with her fiance, to continue her burn treatment. Rocky made a beeline for her.

“He immediately spotted me and came over to the window and was very engulfed in everything I had going on,” said Miller to Fox 59.

The video has been viewed more than 2.5 million times since it was posted on July 26.

A zoo spokesperson issued a statement on the interaction obtained by Fox 59:

“Like all orangutans, Rocky is observant and curious. Our orangutans eagerly interact and communicate with people they know well, such as their caregivers. Rocky is a bit different. He regularly interacts with people he may not know. The exchange in the video is a great example of this.”

Rocky is also famous for mimicking human speech. This isn’t a talking ape so the sounds he makes aren’t communication, but rather, a growling effort to imitate human sounds. Rocky was also featured in a photo shoot with pop singer Fergie for fashion magazine Elle.

Orangutans are only found naturally on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and the multi-nation island of Borneo, according to National Geographic. They spend 90 percent of their time in trees, and even sleep in them. They build new nests every day before they go to sleep. They have weak, short legs and long, strong arms suited to climbing trees.

Orangutans are critically endangered due to a destruction of their forest habitat, according to Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute. In captivity, orangutans have lived as long as 60 years, however, their average lifespans are between 40 and 50 years.

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