“Puppe and Budi prod the iPad with their knuckles and fingertips, multi-tasking by slipping the occasional snack into their mouths,” Katherine Fernandez-Blance reports for The Toronto Star. “They could easily be children, enjoying an onscreen game and a snack on a summer day.”
“But the mother and son are apes — two of six Sumatran orangutans at the Toronto Zoo who have been introduced to iPads in recent months,” Fernandez-Blance reports. “They use them to play memory and painting games, even to Skype with other orangutans. But watching videos is their favourite. ‘They really like watching the videos of natural things, so maybe that’s why they’re so transfixed on it,’ said the zoo’s main orangutan keeper, Matthew Berridge.”
Fernandez-Blance reports, “Toronto is the only Canadian zoo to participate in the U.S.-created Apps for Apes program, an effort to provide extra enrichment opportunities for orangutans in captivity… In captivity, it’s the humans that call the shots. It’s something Berridge would like to change. ‘We make all their choices for them, and for an intelligent animal they should have some more opportunities to make choices themselves,’ Berridge said — from deciding on the type of food they want that day to what activities they’d like to do. He hopes that teaching the orangutans how to make their own choices on the iPad will help them learn how to do so more generally in captivity.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Likely, the orangutans like to watch videos of “natural things” because we’ve got them locked in cages for life. We wouldn’t be the least surprised if many of them were smarter (certainly more caring) than some humans.
Believe it, lady.
If the orangutans have to be in zoos (to protect them from other humans), then those responsible for them should do everything possible to make the experience as natural and as “free” as humanly and humanely possible.
You can help in many ways. Orangutan Outreach seeks to spread the sad news of “over-exploitation, merciless destruction of rainforests, and the genocide of one of the most charismatic and magnificent creatures ever to have graced this earth. This is what is facing the orangutans and their habitat. The crisis in Borneo and Sumatra demands immediate action – before it’s too late.” More info here. Direct link to Apps for Apes here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Spock” for the heads up.]
Orangutans at Miami zoo use Apple iPads to communicate – May 9, 2012
Orangutans love their Apple iPads – August 17, 2011