United States: Addicted to screens, a gorilla is deprived of smartphones

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It was necessary to intervene to save a great ape from a Chicago zoo from his obsession.

A gorilla at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago spent his days looking at photos and videos. (illustrative image)

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Like many 16-year-olds, Amare spent her time staring at smartphone screens. Except that Amare is not a human but a gorilla, a resident of the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. We had to intervene to save him from what was turning into addiction and becoming problematic.

Caregivers had noticed that this young male gorilla weighing nearly 200 kilos spent his days in a corner of his habitat, his eyes riveted on visitors’ smartphones, glued to the other side of a window. He was fascinated by the photos and videos that humans showed him, reports the “Chicago Tribune”. And in front of his keen interest, more and more visitors handed him their screen to observe his reactions.

He was disinterested in his congeners

Addicted to smartphones, Amare became more sedentary every day. And he was socializing less and less with the three other young gorillas he lives with. Worried about this development, the zoo decided to intervene. and a safety rope has been installed to keep visitors away from the enclosure glass.

The first results are encouraging, according to the American press. Visitors play the game, brandishing their smartphones less and less and the young male has become more active again and has rediscovered the pleasure of interacting with his congeners.

It remains to be seen what fascinated this gorilla so much. Was he simply drawn to light and movement? No, for primate specialist Stephen Ross, it was much more than that. “We know that monkeys have the visual acuity of humans and can translate a two-dimensional image on a screen into something real. It is reasonable to think that the gorilla understands some of what he sees.

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