Apple Apes: Miami Orangutans Get Some Quality iPad Time

May 10, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

We don’t know how many of you love communicating with their iPads. But Orangutans at the Miami Zoo really love using this popular tablet to communicate with humans!

Not willing to be convinced? It has been reported that at least six Orangutans housed at the Miami zoo are using iPads successfully to communicate with humans in some way, as part of their mental stimulation exercise.

Orangutans are a large ape species found in Indonesia and Malaysia and are known to be one of the closest relatives of human from the animal world. The mental stimulation exercise for these big apes at the Miami zoo makes use of iPad apps meant for human users who suffer from autism.

During the sessions, the iPad app displays pictures of various objects which the Orangutans press when the trainer names each object. According to the trainers, the sessions were so refreshing for the apes since they are intelligent enough to find captivity boring.

Gradually, the apes started using iPad sessions to bring trainers’ attention towards the body parts which need medical attention.

Interestingly, just like human kids, younger Orangutans are showing more interest towards the use of iPads than elder ones, report the trainers. However, don’t imagine an Orangutan tapping on the iPad display holding the slate in his hand just like you do.

The trainers hold the device during the sessions since the powerful apes will otherwise crush the device.

Now a group named Orangutan Outreach is planning to conduct video conferencing sessions for Orangutans so that they can see their relatives when they are relocated to other zoos.

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