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Toronto Zoo to Offer iPads to Orangutans to FaceTime With Relatives

by on February 29th, 2012

We last heard about the Milwaukee Zoo offering iPads to their orangutans last August, and now it appears the Toronto Zoo looks to follow suit. They have eventual plans to install WiFi to allow the orangutans to possibly Skype with other primates around North America:

Apps for Apes, the brainchild of Richard Zimmerman and Orangutan Outreach, aims to give the primates a creative outlet to create art or music on, and maybe even to Skype with their relatives in zoos across North America.

“One of our big plans is to have the zoos Wi-Fi-ed, and then orangutans will be able to see each other in different facilities,” said Zimmerman. “We’re calling these ‘primate play dates.’”

The hope is the iPad will introduce an orangutan grandmother to its grandchildren:

The Toronto Zoo has an older female orangutan named Puppe whose female offspring Jahe was sent to a zoo in Memphis, Tenn., two years ago. Jahe has since had a baby of her own that Puppe hasn’t seen. Zimmerman is hoping the iPad can be used to connect them via video chat.

“We want to be able to have them Skype one another so they can see one another. We would love [Jahe] to be able to go online and show her baby to her mother.”

Here’s a video demonstrating the iPads in use at the Milkwaukee Zoo from last year:

Talk about leveraging the power of the iPad. Now, endangered primates (due to palm oil plantations wiping our their habitat in Borneo) can get their hands on the incredible iPad. The question remains–will they hold out for iPad 3?!

[via Canada.com]

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Posted under: iPad News

  • Anonymous

    No wonder the Zoo is bankrupt.

  • @ZacErickson

    This is a crock. The animals don’t care what they’re watching or if they can “develop a relationship with their grandchildren” through FaceTime. Anthropomorphize much? These animals like the iPad the same reason a baby might: its bright, it responds when they interact with it, it makes noise. Research hasn’t even been able to definitively show that an ape has a concept of self, let alone an ability to develop a relationship with its grandkids and enjoy a FaceTime call. Bah, bad science.