We humans may be tiring of video calls, Zoom birthdays and streamed performances, but the chimpanzees at Safari Park Dvur Kralove and the troop at a zoo in Brno, 150 km away, can now watch one another’s daily lives on giant screens.
The Safari Park launched the experimental project Thursday to enrich the everyday life of their six chimpanzees amid a sᴛʀɪᴄᴛ ʟᴏᴄᴋᴅᴏᴡɴ, and give them some fun and make up for the lack of interaction with visitors since the attractions closed in December under ⒸⓄⓋⒾⒹ-①⑨ resᴛʀɪᴄᴛions.
The result is turned out to be extraordinary as chimps at the park were seen becoming excited to have face time with their friends.
There are no mute buttons ᴅɪsᴀsᴛᴇʀs as the sound is off, but there has already been plenty of interest in what the distant cousins are up to since the project got under way last week.
“At the beginning they approached the screen with defensive or ᴛʜʀᴇᴀᴛening gestures, there was interaction,” said Gabriela Linhartova, ape keeper at Dvur Kralove, 135 km east of Prague.
“It has since moved into the mode of ‘I am in the movies’ or ‘I am watching TV’. When they see some tense situations, it gets them up off the couch, like us when we watch a live sport event.”
Zookeeper Radek Hlavka said Monday the chimpanzees miss people and can get bored. Hlavka said the youngest female, “M” seems to be the chimpanzee to get the most excited about watching the other chimpanzees at the other zoo.
The chimpanzees have also adopted other human behaviours such as grabbing goodies like nuts to chew on while watching the action.
The video conferences, also aired on the safari park’s website, will run daily from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. until the end of March when keepers will evaluate whether they should continue.