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Zoo Gives Monkeys iPads, Monkeys Love Them

An orangutan at the Milwaukee County Zoo plays with an iPad 2

The Milwaukee County Zoo has equipped its primates with iPads. The program started after a zookeeper saw a fake story about gorillas and iPads that ran in the UK’s Sun newspaper on April Fool’s Day.

After a little strategizing, the zoo deciding to introduce the device to two orangutans. A zookeeper engages the animals in three to four weekly 20-minute sessions. The iPad 2 was initially introduced to the animals through glass so they couldn’t break it.

Utilizing the iPad’s cameras, the orangutans began to see the mirror affects the tablet provided. After becoming familiar with the device in this capacity, the orangutans were allowed to use the iPad’s touchscreen through a chain-linked fence at the back of their enclosure while a keeper held the device up.

Zookeepers say the orangutans have already established their favorite apps, which include a mix of drawing, video and game apps. DrawFree, Flick Kick Football, iFishPond and even the interactive ebook The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore are some of their favorites, according to Australian video game blog Kotaku.

The zoo is hoping these iPad sessions will eliminate boredom in the orangutans, which are highly intelligent. They’re so smart, in fact, that they actually look forward to the sessions. Trainers were quick to point out, however, that they had not placed the iPads into the enclosures. They noted that an orangutan could snap one in half in about five seconds.


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