A Canadian zoo has urged the public to stop showing gorillas their phones as it’s ‘upsetting’ them and ‘affecting their relationships.’
Toronto Zoo have taped a sign to the glass of their gorilla enclosure, reminding people of the rule.
It reads: ‘For the wellbeing of gorilla troop, please refrain from showing them any videos or photos as some content can be upsetting and affect their relationships and behaviour within their family….CONTINUE READING
This comes after videos have gone viral of gorillas being enthralled by mobile phone screens as guests show them pictures.
Maria Franke, Toronto Zoo’s director of wildlife conservation and welfare, told The Toronto Star that one of the gorillas called Nassir is particularly affected – becoming ‘enthralled’ by gadgets and phones.’
Members are guests would put their phones up to the glass to show him videos.
She said ‘It was causing him to be distracted and not interacting with the other gorillas. He was just so enthralled with gadgets and phones and the videos.’
On the zoo’s website, 13-year-old Nassir is described as ‘truly the epitome of a teenager, fascinated by videos and screen time would dominate his life if he had his way.’
However, it’s not just Toronto Zoo that is facing this problem, videos are emerging from a number of zoo’s of guests showing the primates their devices.
In one video taken at Louisville Zoo, we see Jelani the gorilla watching a guest swipe through pictures on their phone.
We see him sit next to the glass of the enclosure, fascinated by the device as he watches the guest swipe through photos and ask ‘do you like those?’
Jelani has become famous for his obsession with visitors showing him their phones – particularly photos of other gorillas, including female and baby gorillas.
The animal even uses a swiping motion to tell visitors that he wants to see a new image.
Hollie Ross, the behavioural husbandry supervisor at Toronto Zoo, told Canadian broadcaster CP24: ‘We just want the gorillas to be able to be gorillas’.
She added ‘When our guests come to the zoo, we want them to be able to see gorillas in a very natural state, and what they would be doing naturally – to sort of connect with them on that level.
The zoo does let its gorillas watch videos of other animals and nature documentaries, which Ms Ross said they really like.
She said the zoo just want to know what content the animals are being shown: ‘Very much like managing an account for a child or something, you want to make sure that your parental controls are on, and that you’re in control of what the content is that they’re seeing.’
Another zoo in Chicago was forced to put up a rope line a few feet away from the glass partition of its gorilla enclosure to stop people from showing the animals their phones.
According to the Chicago Sun Times, an ape called Amare became so distracted by the gadgets that officials started seeing behavioural changes.
He was ‘glued to a cell phone’ when another gorilla ‘rushed him’.
When asked if this could make Amare an easy target for bullying, Stephen Ross, director of the zoo’s Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes, said: ‘It’s within the realm of possibility and something we really want to get ahead of….CONTINUE READING
The zoo want to make sure ‘everyone is doing what’s best’ for the animals, so it’s a possibility that we could see more changes in other zoo’s in the future regarding mobile phones if it catches on.