Prague, Czech Republic – Everyone’s lifestyle and habits have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic over the course of the past year, but humans aren’t the only ones suffering from isolation in the age of COVID-19. In the Czech Republic, zookeepers have come up with an original and goofy new way of entertaining their chimpanzees, bored and lonesome as a result of the current lockdown: using technology to put them in contact with each other.
As reported by AP, the Safari Park of Dvur Kralove, in north-eastern Bohemia, installed a large screen in the enclosure of the chimpanzees allowing them to see what their counterparts at a zoo in Brno, in south Moravia, are up to.
As many of us have learned over the past months, getting some quality (albeit digital) face-time with one’s friends and acquaintances can prove salutary.
A way, according to the zookeepers in charge of the project, to alleviate the loneliness and boredom of the chimpanzees created by the lockdown and absence of visitors. Zoos in the Czech Republic have been closed for the past three months, and it’s still unknown when they will be able to reopen to the public.
“New and interesting stimulus”
“It’s pretty complicated to entertain them for a long time,” admitted Radek Hlavka, zookeep of the Dvur Kralove Safari Park, nevertheless noting that one of the female primates seemed particularly enthused by the ability to watch fellow primates in Moravia.
Other zookeepers and chimpanzee breeders explained that both groups of primates appeared happy about the initiative, and sometimes “come to show each other food in front of the screen”.
“It’s a new and interesting stimulus for these very intelligent animals,” commented Martin Hovorka, director of the zoo in Brno.
Launched last week, the experimental project will be reviewed in a few days to decide on whether or not it should be pursued and extended to other Czech zoos.