Apps For Apes: National Zoo Introduces Six Orangutans To iPads

Photo Credit: Elliott Fabrizio, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

WASHINGTON (JCHAYWARD.COM) — Ape keepers at the National Zoo needed a way to add more variety and enrichment to their animals’ lives so they contacted Orangutan Outreach, an organization that seeks to raise funds and promote public awareness for the conservation of Orangutans, who provided them a high-tech program that has been very popular in zoos around the world.

Apps for Apes, introduces the iPad  to orangutans in order to provide them with unlimited enrichment opportunities featuring musical instruments, cognitive games, drawing programs,photos, videos and more.

The Ape keepers found that the six Orangutans differed on what apps they enjoyed on the iPad. The National Zoo says they found that 36-year-old Bonnie liked to bang on the drums, 16-year-old Kyle prefered the piano and 25-year-old Iris liked listening to soothing music while watching animated fish.

“Apps for Apes fits perfectly in this new era of zoo keeping,” said Becky Malinsky, 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.”

See PHOTOS of Orangutans with iPads below. All images courtesy of Elliott Fabrizio, Smithsonian’s National Zoo.