Amare, a young gorilla living in Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, has zoologists worried. For several months, it seems that the animal has developed a real addiction… to visitors’ smartphones! Because the primate having become accustomed to being photographed daily turns out to have taken a liking to its own image, explains the Chicago Sun-Times.
Addiction to screens: a danger that spares no one
It all started a few months ago, when Amare was attacked by another gorilla rushing at him. This kind of provocation is far from exceptional in monkeys, which regularly try to assert themselves as the dominant male. However, it was Amare’s inaction, engrossed in a visitor’s screen, that worried zookeepers.
“It almost seemed to have surprised Amare, he was so distracted,” says Stephen Ross, director of the E. Fisher center, dedicated to the study and conservation of apes.
The gorilla’s distractions linked to visitors’ screens have reportedly increased in recent months, explains the director. A very worrying problem to which the zoo staff members decided to react by installing a rope to keep visitors (and their screens) at a distance.
“It’s probably a cyclical phenomenon, the more interest it shows, the more people want to engage with it. It’s something we’ve noticed and talked about a lot in terms of a strategy to address it,” continues Ross.
⋙ Selfies, a danger for wild animals
Consequences on the social life of the animal
As with humans, the real danger of smartphone addiction lies in social isolation. Indeed, Amare being a young gorilla, he still has to prove himself to his family and prove that he is not weak. Because as Stephen Ross explains, if he does not react to the attacks of his friends, he risks becoming the scapegoat of other animals wishing to impose themselves as dominant.
“There are a lot of games, but there is also aggression and a lot of determination to know who is the boss of this group. »
Thus, if visitors continue to expose the primate to their screens, Amare may no longer be in harmony with the other monkeys.
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