Orangutans are one of the most intelligent primates and are known for their amazing learning abilities. So, don’t be surprised when these adorable species will start using iPads soon to keep them from getting bored. Smithsonian’s National Zoo has tapped the Apps4Apes program of Orangutan Outreach which is basically a program intended to further enhance the quality of lives for primates in zoos.
Orangutan Outreach, a conservation organization, has already given tablets to intelligent primates in 12 other zoos, including zoos in Houston, Atlanta, Toronto, Utah and Milwaukee. Currently, the Apps4Apes program has around 10 apps including musical instruments, cognitive games, drawing programs and others. So far the program is seeing great results. For example, keepers discovered that 36-year-old Bonnie likes to play the drums while 16-year-old Kyle prefers the piano. A 25-year-old orangutan named Iris is often found listening to the soothing sounds of the koi pond while watching animated fish.
“Apps for Apes fits perfectly in this new era of zoo keeping,” says Becky Malinsky, the great ape keeper at the National Zoo. “It’s about changing up the day-to-day lives of our animals. We already vary their food, toys and social interactions every day, but the iPad offers another way to engage their sight, touch and hearing.”