Primates all over America are discovering the Apple iPad - and that includes Mahal and his surrogate mother, M.J., two of the Milwaukee County Zoo's orangutans.
The zoo is using four donated iPads, plus another belonging to a volunteer, for enrichment activities that include free apps (finger painting, music) and videos of other animals at the zoo.
Keepers also are considering using Skype, an Internet video chat program, to connect orangutans in other zoos with each other. M.J., for instance, came from a Toledo zoo in 2007 and might check in on the old gang back in Toledo.
Other zoos, including Zoo Atlanta, use touch screens with orangutans, but the Milwaukee County Zoo is the only one in America using iPads. Orangutan Outreach, a nonprofit that works on behalf of the endangered orangutans, is working with zoos on starting up similar programs.