Fort Worth Zoo
Orangutans in Milwaukee are showing much more interest in the iPads than the gorillas that first trialed the devices.
Further proof that iPads are everywhere has emerged. Orangutans at the Milwaukee Zoo have been given donated iPads via the Apps for Apes program, and have taken to them naturally. Favorite apps? They love drawing, playing the drums and above all — checking each other out. One guy even cozies up to David Attenborough documentaries. Go ahead. You can collectively say, "Awww..."
Plans are underway to hook up wi-fi and expand the program to other zoos in Atlanta and Phoenix so the apes can arrange "primate playdates" via FaceTime, according to DigitalTrends and Dvice.com. When shown video on their iPads, the Milwaukee apes were very curious about primates that were in a different enclosure at the same zoo — so imagine meeting apes from other cities? OMG!
The iPads were first trialed with gorillas but they showed minimal interest; but when they were given to the orangutans, the red apes immediately became animated and engaged. The primates' keepers help the apes with the iPads each week to keep them stimulated and entertained — since orangutans are so powerful if they were left to play unsupervised they'd likely break the devices.
Sounds a bit like kindergarten, doesn't it?
The Apps for Apes program is organized by the charity Orangutan Outreach; they accept financial donations or "gently used" iPads. Their goal with the experiment is to raise awareness and funds for apes in the wild that are facing extinction.
Richard Zimmerman from Orangutan Outreach had wanted to find a way to use the iPad with the red apes since the device was launched in 2010. He told the BBC, "The original idea came literally when Steve Jobs gave his opening presentation introducing the iPad."
At the same time a volunteer at the Milwaukee Zoo donated her iPad to the Zoo much to the apes' delight. The two ideas came together and the Apps for Apes program was born.
So it seems all those kids out there complaining they didn't get an iPad for Christmas have reason to be even more depressed. Now even orangutans are more plugged in than you.