Friday 18 April, 2014

Milwaukee’s Orangutans `could soon video chat` with friends in other zoos

Published On: Sat, Dec 31st, 2011 | Wildlife | By BioNews

After introducing iPads to Orangutans at a Milwaukee zoo, zookeepers are now planning to provide wi-fi access to them so that the apes could watch their primate friends in other zoos.

It means they could soon be video-calling their friends in other zoos via tablet computers.

The hairy tech fans have been playing with iPads since they were first introduced to them in May.

Now, conservationist Richard Zimmerman said the next step would be to provide wi-fi access.

He hopes the experiment will raise awareness and funds to support the wild animals facing extinction.

Zimmerman, from the US-based charity Orangutan Outreach, said he had wanted to give the device to the animals ever since it was launched back in January 2010.

“The original idea came literally when Steve Jobs gave his opening presentation introducing the iPad,” the BBC quoted him as saying.

Zimmerman said the idea was to provide a “bit of fun” for the animals, who only get to use the devices for two short periods every week.

“What we really want to do is to allow the orangutans to really play – to do paintings, to watch videos, to do almost as a human child would do with basic curiosity,” he said.

Zimmerman said that the animals have been captivated by watching television on the devices, particularly when it featured other orangutans, and even more so when they saw faces they recognised.

“They love new things, so one of the first things we’re going to do to incorporate that is make sure the facilities have wi-fi capabilities so that the orangutans can actually have access to unlimited information – of course with the keepers guiding them,” he stated.

Other centres, zoos and sanctuaries are also willing to get involved “immediately” and are just waiting for more devices to become available. (ANI)

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