US zoo fears teen gorilla’s exposure to phones is behind anti-social behavior
A teenage gorilla in a Chicago zoo has been getting too much screen time, according to zoo officials.
Amare, a 415-pound gorilla at Chicago’s Lincoln Park zoo, has been staring a little too frequently at the screens of cellphones from visitors who show him pictures and videos through the glass wall – including selfies, family photos, pet videos and even footage of Amare himself.
He has apparently become so distracted as a result that last week, when another teenage gorilla rushed at him in a show of aggression, Amare did not appear to notice.
‘It seemed to almost surprise Amare because his attention was very much distracted,’ said Stephen Ross, the director of the Lester E Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes, to the Chicago Sun Times.
In recent months, zoo staff have had to install a rope line to keep visitors several feet away from the glass and have had to step in to explain why the phone screens were a problem.
‘It’s probably a cyclical phenomena- the more he shows interest, the more people want to engage in it,’ Ross said.
Three other male ‘bachelor’ gorillas live in the same enclosure with Amare, and zoo officials are worried that they, too, might become addicted to screens.
‘It’s within the realm of possibility and something we really want to get ahead of,’ said Ross. ‘What we’re keeping an eye on here is that he doesn’t end up watching screens that the visitors are presenting him for hours on end. It’s more of a quantity issue than a quality issue. If we can all sort of agree that we want to do what’s best for the animals, then we can sort of resist that desire to sit there and flip through pictures for an hour with him.’
(News Source -Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Times Of Nation staff and is published from a www.theguardian.com feed.)
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