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At Miami zoo, iPad system improves human-animal communication

Animals & Pets

Jungle Island in Miami is incorporating iPads into its into its Orangutan School in an attempt to better understand the primates and encourage interaction between visitors and animals.

Although human-animal communication can be limited, we’ve seen services attempting to bridge the language gap with innovative ideas such as the in-house animal psychic at Oregon’s Hotel Monaco. Now, Jungle Island in Miami is incorporating iPads into its Orangutan School in an attempt to better understand the primates and encourage interaction between visitors and animals. Trainers at the park are using an app on the devices initially developed for use with autistic children, which provides visual prompts selected by touch. At Jungle Island, the primates are encouraged to select the food they want from images shown on the iPad, or more importantly let handlers know the location of pain when in distress. The animals were taught signs for ear, eyes and shoulder, enabling more accurate medical attention from staff. The tourist attraction hopes to develop the current app further for use with the public, so visitors will be able to interact with the animals. Pet owners will already know how much animals like to play with touchscreen tablets such as the iPad, but Jungle Island is harnessing their power in a way that could improve human-animal relations and serve to draw in more visitors. Zoos around the world – one for inspiration? Spotted by: Hemanth Chandrasekar

Website: www.jungleisland.com

Contact: www.jungleisland.com/public/contact.cfm

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