Toronto Zoo orangutans go ape for Apple’s iPad

“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.]

Related articles:
Orangutans at Miami zoo use Apple iPads to communicate – May 9, 2012
Orangutans love their Apple iPads – August 17, 2011


        1. Too bad they didn’t tell you about the Toronto only Tony’s fruit and vegetable market App.

          MJ and Mahal order their own delivered meals every day. I hear they love mangos.

    1. Spot on, twodales. I too was surprised, and touched, to see MDN’s take. These animals are inmates who have committed no crimes. To see the destruction of them and their habitat is to witness the consequences of a planet with far too many humans.

    2. I agree with the thank you, wholeheartedly, I respectfully disagree with your last sentence. Passion is all about: Passion! If you are passionate about Apple, you will be happy to see them doing well. You will be extremely angry seeing them “fail”. You will be loud about others stealing their IP. So naturally, you would be appalled about humans killing of such animals without a proper cause and be passionate about that too.

      I know this is off-topic, but the above goes for all that is happening at MDN. We see a shift from having indestructible faith in Apple towards healthy skepticism. This is not because MDN has changed overnight, this is because the current management deserves to be regarded with caution. Not because they have already failed, but because they give hints that they may fail. We all hope they do not, we all wish them wisdom in their decisions, but will not just give them the blank check like we did Jobs.

  1. in other news:

    “Gorillas in Seoul zoo attack zoo keepers in rage after their ipads were replaced with Galaxy tabs due to court ruling banning apple products… “.

    “Zookeepers now on strike after managements ‘solution’ to gorilla crisis was to ask them to try Win tablets instead… “.

    unfortunately I can’t link youtube videos as they were taken down as too gross with zoo keeper limbs flying…

    1. Lets put Mikey and Balmer in a cage and let them use the iPad to discover their future – that their companies are skating on thin ice and the temperature
      is rising.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.