Quantcast
Latest Stories

Young orangutan plays with iPad

By

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin – The young orangutan reaches his hand through the cage and rubs his knuckles over an iPad, drawing wide colors across the screen with his favorite app.

A few minutes later, Mahal presses his face up against the mesh, stretches out his long tongue and taps the screen to make it light up and play his favorite song, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

Soon Mahal and the two other orangutans at the Milwaukee, Wisconsin county zoo will be able to use their iPad for something even more exciting: “play dates” with orangutans at other zoos and wildlife preserves.

They’re already fascinated by videos of orangutans they’ve watched on the tablet. Their keepers are hoping a live video feed will be even more engaging.

“We’re excited to see where that goes,” said Trish Kahn, the zoo’s primate coordinator.

“It could be they don’t care at all, but, from what I understand of them, I think they’re definitely going to be able to understand this is real time and they’re looking at another orangutan.”

Nearly a year after the zoo introduced iPads as a form of enrichment, the primate building is being rewired for wifi so the orangutans can have their play dates and the public can watch them on a webcam.

Several other zoos have also introduced tablets to primates with the help of the non-profit Orangutan Outreach, which launched the “Apps for Apes” campaign after seeing how much the Milwaukee orangutans enjoyed playing with the iPads.

The goal is twofold: to bring a powerful new enrichment activity to the orangutans and to get zoo visitors engaged in the fight to protect an endangered species.

“It’s really important for the public to connect with these animals because we’re losing them in the wild – they’re facing extinction,” Kahn told AFP.

“For me the most important thing is for people to recognize these are sentient beings that are so incredible, that have all these wonderful adaptations and a profound brain.”

So in addition to the playtime in their private feeding area, the zoo also offers iPad enrichment in the public viewing area, where volunteer Scott Engel shows them videos through the thick glass.

– ‘They can brighten your day’–

Crowds of people are drawn to Engel and pepper him with questions about the orangutans and the iPad.

They laugh when he tells them that Mahal likes to watch penguin videos while his adoptive mother MJ hankers for BBC nature shows by David Attenborough.

They lean in to take pictures when MJ taps on the glass to get Engel to start the next video.

And they listen when he tells them how orangutans are losing their natural habits as rainforests in Indonesia are burned to make way for palm oil plantations.

Engel, a freelance photographer who has been visiting the zoo to hone his craft for years, got the program going as a bit of a lark after a doctored photo of a gorilla playing with an iPad made the rounds online.

He made contact with the Milwaukee zoo’s gorilla keeper over Facebook and offered to donate his old iPad after he upgraded to the iPad 3.

Now, he’s coming to the zoo several times a week to show the orangutans videos – many of which he shoots himself.

“It’s just amazing to make a connection with an animal,” Engel said. “They can brighten your day.”

Mahal will raise his hands and clap when he sees Engel and likes to play peek-a-boo by bending under the window frame.

MJ taps her forehead to get Engel to show her the top of his head, or points to her eyes to get him to wipe his face for her.

The most special moments, Engel said, come when the zoo’s introverted and somewhat anxious 30-year-old male orangutan comes out of his corner to say hello.

Tommy used to spend most of his days out of sight or with his back to the window.

But he’s excited about the iPad, and having Engel stand outside his window seems to have made

Tommy more interested in watching other people as they lean in to get a look at his long orange fur and flat black face.

“To see him out and about and engaging and not hiding in his corner is wonderful to us,” Kahn said. “He’s incredible, and we want people to see him.”


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter




Recent Stories:

Moderate earthquake jolts southern Iran 9 mins elapsed DOH asks co-passengers of OFW carrier to test for MERS-CoV 28 mins elapsed PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt 32 mins elapsed 5.5-magnitude quake hits Sultan Kudarat 38 mins elapsed Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry 60 mins elapsed Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains 2 hours elapsed Durant has 42, Thunder beat Pistons 112-111 2 hours elapsed Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler 3 hours elapsed
Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Animals , Ipad , technology

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/U2J4DJQPQ4PON73N3KBZYXCNCM Francis

    Dito sa Pinas sa lalawigan ng batangas ang uso na nilalaro ng manok ay iPot..

    • raffyb0i

      ha……ha…..corny mo hehe



Copyright © 2014,
.
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement Advertisement
  1. Did Deniece Cornejo lambast Vhong Navarro on social media?
  2. Mommy Dionisia sings ‘Riking Bull,’sends netizens ablaze
  3. Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  4. Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  5. DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  6. Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao scores, takes over social media
  7. Philippines may watch ‘blood moon’ online
  8. IT technician found guilty of defrauding firm of P130,000
  9. Memes flourish after Pacquiao victory
  10. Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  1. Did Deniece Cornejo lambast Vhong Navarro on social media?
  2. Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao scores, takes over social media
  3. Nude and so dangerous
  4. Mommy Dionisia sings ‘Riking Bull,’sends netizens ablaze
  5. Memes flourish after Pacquiao victory
  6. Netizens react to Pacquiao’s victory over Bradley
  7. IT technician found guilty of defrauding firm of P130,000
  8. Philippines may watch ‘blood moon’ online
  9. Ireland’s wedding singer priest an Internet hit
  10. Samsung flagship smartphone goes on sale worldwide
  1. #RejectedBbPilipinas2014Questions flood Twitter
  2. Did Deniece Cornejo lambast Vhong Navarro on social media?
  3. Netizens fall in love with Crimea prosecutor Natalia Poklonskaya
  4. Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao scores, takes over social media
  5. Nude and so dangerous
  6. Why didn’t missing jet passengers use their cellphones?
  7. Mommy Dionisia sings ‘Riking Bull,’sends netizens ablaze
  8. Russia tries to curb Crimean prosecutor’s Internet fame
  9. Memes flourish after Pacquiao victory
  10. Netizens thank Capa for Lee arrest

News

  • Moderate earthquake jolts southern Iran
  • DOH asks co-passengers of OFW carrier to test for MERS-CoV
  • 5.5-magnitude quake hits Sultan Kudarat
  • Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  • Firetruck rams California eatery; 15 injured
  • Sports

  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Durant has 42, Thunder beat Pistons 112-111
  • Walker leads Bobcats over Bulls in OT, 91-86
  • Man City slips further out of title contention
  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • Business

  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • Technology

  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Advertisement
    Marketplace