Scientists launch dating apps for apes

Orangutans looking for a playmate in the urban jungle now have the opportunity to join a rather special dating website.

Indeed, orangutans in a Dutch zoo are making use of a Tinder-style ‘dating app’ for apes.

Researchers at the Primate Park are investigating how orangutans and bonobos respond to images of the same species they are shown on a touch screen.

Biologist Thomas Bionda said the app could help to determine an ape’s preference between potential mates — and provide a spark of attraction.

He said: “We want to help our animals and maybe other zoos’ animals to make a choice. Animals have to like each other.”

Bionda hopes that having apes look at images on a computer screen could help determine the compatibility of a prospective pair.

He added: “Usually, smell plays an important role too. But with the orangutans, it will be ‘what you see is what you get.’”

However, the scientists at the Apenheul primate park, near Apeldoorn, have another problem – building an orangutan-proof touchscreen for the project.

The screen in the primates’ sleeping area was recently destroyed by an 11-year old female called Samboja – despite the tablet being reinforced with a steel frame.

The technique has also been tried in Germany, where female orangutan, Sinta, who lives in Stuttgart Zoo and Gempa, from a zoo in Belgium, had only seen each other by video before they eventually met earlier this year.

Source: punch