It’s not surprising for us humans to be very updated when it comes to new technology. What more if the technology we’re talking about are gadgets? I guess some of you are going crazy over those slick and slim tablets, iPads, iPhones, and what have you…but our animal friends?
Have you ever heard of primates using iPads to simply escape from the depression afflicting them while inside their enclosures? Well, if you have not known of this, better read on. As we all know, primates are next to humans when it comes to intelligence. They may not have the ability to speak and walk erect like us, but they do have some similarities with humans. You all know those similarities way back your elementary years, so I better not specify them here.
Well, let’s go back to the topic at hand. Apes and other primates are now given the opportunity by some zookeepers to get in touch with technology. Not that they give each one of them and iPad or iPhone, then leave them there. It’s not the system they use. You all know what’s gonna happen if ever you give them one and leave it at their own discretion.
Linda Jacobs says they’re using the iPads to teach the animals how to recognize different objects and select preferences, even giving “them a choice in what they have for dinner — show them pictures of every vegetable we have available that day, and let them pick.” Zookeepers already communicate with the six Jungle Island primates by using sign language, but the new tech tool offers a whole new level of engagement and opportunity for expression.
So, simply put, apes are using these gadgets not just for fun, but also for educational purposes. They may not be able to go to a formal school like humans do, but indeed these humans are trying to share their knowledge with them. Not only that. It is also one way of preventing theses apes from having depression. It’s not new for these animals to have one. Imagine being placed in a cage or enclosure for so long. You would become very sad, right, because you have been stripped of your freedom? If you do understand their predicament, then you would really understand their feelings.
Orangutans have long been regarded as among the animal kingdom’s more intelligent members (even capable of stacking Legos) and zoologists think the iPad is an excellent way to keep them sharp. Orangutan Outreach is behind the Apps for Apesproject and says the animals “require mental stimulation to keep from growing bored and depressed.”
In relation to this, let me ask you a question. Whenever your parents are trying to learn using new stuff, do they easily learn how to use them? Well, except for some, most of our parents have a hard time learning how to use them. In the end, they get frustrated and even get to the point where they blame the gadget for not being cooperative. It’s really funny, isn’t it? Whether you believe me or not, the same case goes for the primates.
But not all the zoo’s orangutans are enthusiastic about the shiny new toys. Jacobs says it turns out the teenagers are crazy for it — but the older apes just can’t get into this newfangled i-Thingy. It’s like the primate equivalent of your parents getting frustrated trying to figure out “how to just make a simple, darn phone call!” on a smartphone, while the children easily master the new gadget.
With this, let us always remember that animals should also enjoy the same rights and privileges as we humans have. If we are able to make use of technology for some useful purposes, let us lend this to them, for they also need them. Who knows, someday, they will try to communicate with us through Skype? That would not be a very remote possibility.