We humans may be tired of video calls, Zoom birthdays and streamed performances, but the chimpanzees in two Czech zoos are just starting to enjoy their new live online connection.
To make up for the lack of interaction with visitors since the attractions closed under Covid-19 restrictions in December, the chimpanzees at Dvur Kralove Safari Park and the troop at a Brno zoo, 150 km away, can now live each other’s daily lives on giant screens .
There are no disasters with mute buttons because the sound is muted, but there has been a lot of interest in what the distant cousins have been doing since the project started last week.
“At first, they approached the screen with defensive or threatening gestures, there was interaction,” said Gabriela Linhartova, ape keeper at Dvur Kralove, 135 km east of Prague.
“It has since gone into ‘I’m in the movie’ or ‘I’m watching TV’ mode. When they see some tense situations, they get taken off the couch, just like we do when we watch a live sporting event.”
The chimpanzees have also adopted other human behaviors, such as grabbing treats like nuts to chew while watching the action.
The video conferences, which will also be broadcast on the safari park’s website, will take place daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. until the end of March, when keepers will evaluate whether to proceed.