According to The Times, a Dutch zoo is working on a biological program to improve the mating success between apes. One way for animals to survive ion captivity is by mating. The problem is, putting tow intelligent primates together has not more chance of success than putting two humans in same room – both partners need to be attracted to one another. In testing out a new approach, the zoologists have developed an app whereby one primate can be shown photographs of available primate of the opposite sex via a strengthened computer tablet. The reinforcing of the tablet proved necessary in the event an ape took particular exception to the potential suitor on offer.
The trials have been undertaken using orangutans, Wired reports. Arranging a successful mating for captive apes is not easy and it often involves transporting apes between different zoos. If the magic isn’t there, time and money needs to be spent sending the apes back again.
The system seems to work better with females that males. If a female responds positively, then the chances of a match are stronger. This is based on tests undertaken at the Apenheul Primate Park, located east of Amsterdam in The Netherlands. As well as ensuring a more successful breeding program, the researchers also hope the app project will enhance their understanding of ape emotions.
The new app is the brainchild of Thomas Bionda, a behavioral biologist at the zoo. He told The Guardian that the chance of apes breeding all comes down, much like humans, to emotions. “Emotion is of huge evolutionary importance. If you don’t interpret an emotion correctly in the wild, it can be the end of you”, he said.