A collaborative discovery of important topics in primatology, spanning the environment, research, news, media, and specific animal institutions
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Apes and iPads
you own an iPad? Have you played around with one lately? Pretty amazing
and entertaining, right? And, perhaps a bit addicting. Well, one animal
welfare group, Orangutan Outreach,
has begun to introduce orangutans to iPads.
This group believes, and
some pretty undeniable research has shown, that interactive technology
can be stimulating for apes and a beneficial source of enrichment. We
imagine these orangutans aren't on Facebook, Instagram, or Angry Birds,
but rather playing with drawing and painting applications to experience
the sensation of creating and directing colors and designs.
sessions allow apes the ability to interact with one another remotely,
using the video chat connectivity. Richard Zimmerman, the founder of
Apps for Apes, claims that "this is not a gimmick."
And he's right, based on body of research, the long memory of these
animals, and their overall cognitive abilities. iPad and other human
technology experiences can be enriching for primates and should be
explored further. Obviously, this type of investment is a flashy, trendy
thing. We must also consider that most zoo budgets have trouble
supporting low-tech, comprehensive enrichment programs. But, perhaps
this is where the future is heading as technology becomes more central
to all of our lives.