A zoo in the Czech Republic is trying out a new way for its bored chimpanzees to monkey around during the coronavirus lockdown.
Humans might be tiring of video calls, Zoom birthdays and streamed performances, but the chimps at two Czech zoos are just starting to enjoy their new live online link-up.
The Safari Park in the northern town of Dvur Kralove installed a big screen in their enclosure to show them a livestream of what their fellow chimpanzees are doing on the other side of the country at a zoo in the southern city of Brno.
The Safari Park launched the experimental project Thursday to enrich the everyday life of their six chimpanzees amid a strict lockdown and give them some fun after crowds of visitors disappeared when the zoo closed on Dec 18. It’s not clear when zoos will reopen.
There are no mute-button disasters because the sound is off, but there has already been plenty of interest in what the distant cousins are up to since the project got under way last week.
Zookeep Radek Hlavka said Monday the chimpanzees miss people and can get bored. Hlavka said the youngest female, “M” seems to be the chimpanzee to get the most excited about watching the other chimpanzees at the other zoo.
After a week, the zoo will evaluate the experiment and decide whether it should continue, possibly until the end of March.
“It’s pretty complicated to entertain them for a long time,” Hlavka said.
The chimpanzees have also adopted other human behaviours such as grabbing snacks like nuts to chew on while watching the action.
The video conferences, also aired on the safari park’s website, will run daily from 8am until 4pm until the end of March when keepers will evaluate whether they should continue.