Problem-Solving with Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus and Pongo abelii) and Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): Using the IPAD to Provide Novel Enrichment Opportunities
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The Houston Zoo is home to ten chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and six orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus and Pongo abelii). The iPad was recently introduced and evaluated for a six month time period to determine if it was a viableenrichment activity for these orangutans and chimpanzees.. In an effort to keep the iPad novel, give each ape an equal opportunity for interaction, and due to time constraints, all individuals were given five minute sessions at least twice a month during this time period. A variety of applications were offered for the apes to interact with or observe on the iPad. These applications were divided into categories dependent on certain criteria including auditory stimulation, visual stimulation, interaction level, screen usage, and problem solving component. Their interest level and interaction were recorded for the iPad itself as well as for specific applications. The data were examined to look for trends in interest level and interaction for the two species, for each gender, and for each age group. The juveniles had the most interest in the iPad as well as in the highest variety of applications. Adult females also showed a high level of interest in the iPad but often had specific applications that they favored based on individual preferences. Adult males had the lowest interest level in the iPad. Differences between the species were minimal with both species showing a preference for brightly colored applications that also provided auditory stimulation. The information gathered from this evaluation is being used to further develop the iPad as an enrichment activity by providing insight into what types of applications would be the most enriching to introduce to these two species in the future.
Boostrom, Helen (2013). Problem-Solving with Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus and Pongo abelii) and Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): Using the IPAD to Provide Novel Enrichment Opportunities. Available electronically from