March 24, 2021
If there were anyone in our society who didn’t know how to use Zoom, they do now. The demand for the video call platform has, well, zoomed during the course of the pandemic, and its popularity is even crossing the species boundary, Good News Network reports.
Chimpanzees at two Czech zoos are, like the rest of us, staying in contact via Zoom, as the zoo staff seek to give them some company and stimulation during the long hours of isolation.
Chimp gang Dingo, Babeta, Bonnie, Suzi, Chispi and Mat at Safari Park Dvur Kralove have had their lives Zoom-displayed on giant screens in front of the simians at a Brno Zoo enclosure 90 miles away, and vice versa.
There are no confusions over whether the default speaker is selected, or if the mute button is on, as the sound is off entirely, but that hasn’t stopped the two groups from enjoying the company of their cousins.
Reuters reports that it didn’t always seem like a family reunion. “At the beginning they approached the screen with defensive or threatening gestures,” said Gabriela Linhartova, one of the ape keepers at Dvur Kralove Zoo 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,” Linhartova says.
While observing the others’ day-to-day lives, the chimps have taken to other human behaviors, such as shoveling things like peanuts into their mouths while they watch—reminding this author of the “junk food movie nights” of his childhood.
According to Good News Network, for those who want to get in on the fun, there is a live stream on the zoo’s website where the calls—streamed daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (CET)—will continue until the end of this month at least.
Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork