Washington Zoo uses iPads to cognitively challenge orangutans
Apes are curious and intuitive creatures. Probably, that is why the zoo keepers at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington have been wondering how to enrich their environment and what new activities to add to aid them in the process of cognitive development. Doing research on the matter they stumbled upon a program that has been successful around 12 zoos worldwide: Apps for Apes.
From now on, not only Homo sapiens will be benefiting from the technology but our evolutionary cousins, as well. The program started developing in the Washington Zoo as soon as a keeper’s family member donated an iPad to the apes present at the facility. The staff has had a meeting afterwards to decide what would be the best app for the house’s orangutans. So far the portfolio consists of 10 apps which include cognitive games, drawing games, music games and so on.
Ape keeper, Becky Malinsky, commented on the program:
“Apps for Apes fits perfectly in this new era of zoo keeping. 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.”
Now, if you find this project interesting and want to donate so that more apes can get access to “education”, you can do so by donating iTunes gift cards. And if you are in the Washington area, you can go take a walk at the Zoo and watch for yourself as the apes play a little Angry Birds on the iPad.