According to Becky Malinsky, great ape keeper at the Smithsonian National Zoo, the iPads offer a new way to engage with apes:
“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.”
3. As zookeepers learn which apps the apes prefer, the National Zoo’s app collection has grown in the past few months. The apps the orangutans use run the gamut from music-makers to brain games.
Zookeeper Matthew Berridge says apps that special-ed programs use to help autistic patients communicate might be able to bridge similar barriers with orangutans:
“Let’s say an orangutan has a toothache. He or she would be able to then tap on the iPad on a picture of a tooth and communicate it that way.”