The definition that separates man from ape is being challenged again now that primate keepers at Nashville Zoo have discovered that a collection of Siamangs (a small ape species) at the Zoo are capable taking pictures of themselves and sharing those shots on social media.
“We really thought it was a fluke at first,” says April Jester, Nashville Zoo’s lead Siamang keeper. “I accidently dropped my Samsung Galaxy S4 while I was cleaning and Bahari (our male Siamang) picked it right up, opened the camera function, and started snapping shots like a pre-teen at a Taylor Swift concert. I’ve got to admit they were pretty good shots.”
Keepers were so intrigued by the incident that they set the apes up with an assortment of late model tech gear including a couple of iPhone 4s, and a first generation iPad. The results were astonishing. After just a few short weeks, the apes amassed a large collection of images and short videos mostly of themselves.
“The phones kept sending a message that the iCloud memory was full and needed more storage space,” said Jester. “Bahari would get so angry and throw that phone into the moat. I’m glad we got the OtterBox covers.”
Within weeks the apes had discovered other apps on the smart devices and began setting up various social media pages, including Instagram and Tinder. Keepers guided Bahari to the popular app “Fruit Ninja” where he now focuses his frustrations when Wi-Fi is down.
Just this morning, keepers discovered an old laptop hidden under some straw bedding in the Siamang holding area.
Further investigation unveiled a document outlining plans to create a fake blog post about apes using smart phones as part of an Ape-ril Fools' Day joke and to kick off April as Ape Awareness Month.
When confronted about the contraband, Bahari simply turned his back and began grooming himself.