Your tablet given to a great monkey (and we're not talking about that ape of your partner)? At the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, one of America's oldest and most famous zoos, they tried, and they didn't regret it.
After a zoo employee's family donated an iPad to the institution last year, a program to bring orangutans (gen. Pongo) to the world of tablet games began. To date, there are about ten apps used, and they allow 6 orangutans to play, draw, mirror themselves or engage in simple cognitive tasks.
The orang "artist" who designs: look
According to the Smithsonian ethologists, the primates did not take long to get used to the new "toys": in the past they had in fact participated in programs in which similar cognitive tasks were required. The program, the scientists point out, is more aimed at developing the creativity of the animals by promoting fun and interaction with the attendants than to verify their intelligence.
"Some orangutans let themselves be enchanted by an app that reproduces digital fish that swim in a pond, " says Becky Malinsky, one of the zoo employees. "One female in particular, on the other hand, seems to particularly appreciate the interaction with the attendant and hands him back the tablet when he has finished playing. As if to say: now it's your turn ».
It is hot and the orangutan is refreshed with a handkerchief (video)
Ethologists hope that in the future, wireless permitting, applications such as FaceTime can be exploited to allow orangutans to communicate visually with primates present in other zoos or with their favorite attendants who have since changed jobs. The ability of these monkeys to take advantage of technology brings them even closer to humans and makes the need to expand the conservation programs of primates in the world even more urgent.
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