Orangutans to use iPads to chat with other apes

By Eric W. Dolan
Tuesday, January 3, 2012 20:41 EDT
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Orangutans at the Milwaukee County Zoo have been using Apple’s iPad for the past six months, and now zookeepers hope to expand the apes’ access to the technology, according to PopSci. The charity Orangutan Outreach has launched the “Apps for Apes” campaign to allow orangutans to video chat with other orangutans using Skype or FaceTime.

“Orangutans are highly intelligent creatures and they require mental stimulation to keep from growing bored and depressed,” the Apps for Apes website explains.

“Every orangutan is a unique individual with his or her own particular likes and dislikes, and freedom of choice is critical to their well-being… The quality of life of orangutans living in zoos and sanctuaries is dependent on the amount and type of enrichment they receive on a daily basis.”

The orangutans at the Milwaukee zoo don’t actually handle the iPads, because they could easily break them. Instead, zookeepers hold the device near a mesh barrier and let the orangutans interact with it.

The apes are fond of apps that allow them to draw images and play the drums, according to the zookeepers.

Watch video, courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, below:

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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