Animal Intelligence

New Caledonian crow applies wide vision to tool-making

The New Caledonian crow is a clever tool-maker. Photo: SCMP

Biologists have figured out how the New Caledonian crow, a bird famed for using tools, does its party trick.

Corvus moneduloides, a native of France's South Pacific territory of New Caledonia, is one of the stars of the avian world.

Sunday, 14 October, 2012, 3:26am

Orang-utans and their mother are still far from being a family

Hong Kong's Borneo orang-utan twins turned one last week, and are starting to connect with their mother. But they are still far from being intimate.

The pair, a male and a female, born on July 8 last year at the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, were rejected by their mother Raba for several months.

15 Jul 2012 - 12:00am

Orang-utans getting closer to mum

Starting today, the public will be able to see a boy-girl pair of Borneo orang-utan twins at the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens for the first time since the birth of the great apes in July.

10 Feb 2012 - 12:00am

How computer games are the key to happy animals

Ready for a game? You will be shown a sequence of five different pictures. Sometimes the pictures are abstract shapes, sometimes faces. Sometimes the faces are rotated. Memorise them: you have five seconds. Go!

Now tell me what they are in the correct sequence with 20 pictures to choose from.

22 Jan 2012 - 12:00am

Saving the forest for Borneo's great apes

When Willie Smits walks through the rain forest in Borneo, Indonesia, giant adult orang-utans - with arm spans of up to two metres - come out of the trees and hug him. Then they go back into the dense forest.

'They never forget what I did for them,' he said. Years ago, he saved some of those orang-utans' homes from deforestation.

22 Jan 2012 - 12:00am

Games to stimulate apes still in case

As Hong Kong's orang-utans spend their days swinging through a concrete enclosure that animal rights groups say is inadequate for their needs, a tablet computer that could enrich their lives lies sealed in a metal case, out of reach of the creatures it was meant to help.

22 Jan 2012 - 12:00am

You can count on our feathered friends

It is time for us to put the derogatory term 'birdbrain' to rest. Birds, it turns out, are anything but dumb.

It has long been known that pigeons can count. But the latest finding published in Science shows that they are also able to learn abstract rules about numbers, in this case ordinal numbers.

24 Dec 2011 - 12:00am

Lending them a hand

Orang-utans are often smuggled from Indonesia's forests. They are transported through Hong Kong onto the mainland to serve as pets or exotic food. Their habitat has also dwindled so there are fewer apes in the wild than ever before.

5 Dec 2011 - 12:00am

Call of the wild

I used to go often to the Zoological and Botanical Gardens. As a child, on dad's shoulders, I would babble at the black jaguar as he paced around his tiny cage. As I grew up I became so disturbed by the sight of the majestic feline gnashing his way through the days, along a worn-out strip of concrete, that I stopped going to the zoo.

24 Jul 2011 - 12:00am

endangered species


Answer the following questions. To test your memory, try answering without referring to the text. If you can't remember the details, read the piece again.

8. Wild orang-utans live in:

a. Sumatra and Borneo

b. Borneo and Java

c. Borneo, Java and Sumatra

9. Orang-utans are members of which family?

15 Jan 2008 - 12:00am

Ad Watch

Product: Visa.

Title: All It Takes.

Ad Agency: BBDO.

First Impression: easily the funniest

and cutest ad currently on air. A big production directed by Matt Murphy (previous credits include Visa International with Pierce Brosnan) and starring Catherine Zeta Jones.

19 Jun 2005 - 12:00am

Identity of mobile phone owner remains a mystery

When we left off the story last week, the little white dog had jumped out of the girl's bag and ran down the bus.

Rico returned it to the girl, but not before the dog had urinated on him.

The story continues. Read this week's instalment and then e-mail what you want to happen next to

22 Sep 2004 - 12:00am

Alex gets cold feet

When Jordan bought Alex an expensive jacket last week, Alex rewarded her with a romantic kiss in the park.

29 Jul 2004 - 12:00am

Significant habitat changes needed

I refer to the letter from Lawrence Cheung, of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, headlined 'Orangutans have ropes and climbing frames' (South China Morning Post, April 22), replying to my letter of April 13.

Though appreciative of the fact that the department responded to my letter, Mr Cheung apparently did not understand the points I raised.

7 May 2002 - 12:00am

Orangutans have ropes and climbing frames

I refer to letters from Lesley B. Lahm headlined 'Beautiful orangutans look miserable in barren cage' and Sandra Buhler headlined 'Noble creatures now quasi-senile hulks' (South China Morning Post, April 13 and 19, respectively).

22 Apr 2002 - 12:00am