At Jungle Island Zoo, in Miami, orangutans are learning how to communicate with zookeepers via iPads. The devices are used by the orangutans to demonstrate what they want to eat for lunch. Pictures are shown to them on the screen and they point to the food they want to order.
Zookeeper Linda Jacobs said:
“They have all the intelligence they need to communicate with us. But what they don’t have is developed vocal chords and voiceboxes. This gives them a voice.”
Keepers also test the apes by asking them to point to a certain fruit or vegetable. They are then rewarded with a treat for a correct answer.
Despite the controversy of zoos, this shows that learning more about animal intelligence and developing ways of communication like this would not be as easy without them.