A Bornean orangutan has been filmed doing a bit of jungle DIY with a serrated saw.

For a long time, scientists have reported instances of primates using primitive tools, but the footage that premiered on the new BBC 1 series A Spy in the Wild last night was a step beyond. 

In the video, we see an orangutan not just trying out the tool but using it with real skill. As she saws, we can see her gripping the branch with her feet and she even stops to blow the sawdust away and inspect her work.

“No one suspected that any fully wild orangutan knew the technique but this one suddenly picked up a saw and used it,” a spokesperson for the series said.

While the orangutan performed her work, the show’s robotic primate joined in on a log of its own. Shockingly, when faced with the challenge, the flesh and blood star reacted competitively and began sawing faster.

“Spy Orangutan had been programmed to saw, too, and when the real orangutan spotted her sawing, it seemed to spur her on.”

Orangutans in the area reportedly learned how to use saws by observing local builders. In another incident they were seen using soap.

A Spy in the Wild is a groundbreaking series that sees 34 robotic ‘spy animals’ interacting with the real thing in the wild. The cast includes a robotic giraffe, a lion, an elephant and even a wild dog.

The footage premiered on Thursday. The next episode, 'Intelligence', premiers on 22nd January.

Picture credit: John Downer Productions/ BBC/ Steve Downer