toronto zoo

Toronto Zoo's latest experiment has eerie implications for us humans

The Toronto Zoo has had great success with a recent endeavour to cure its gorillas of some worrying behaviour, all thanks to one simple change that the attraction's human visitors may want to apply in their own lives, too.

Like at other zoos worldwide, keepers found that members of T.O.'s gorilla troop were displaying anti-social and unnatural behaviour because they were too preoccupied with the cell phones and various devices that people were showing them from the other side of the glass.

The zoo's CEO called the apes' obsession with screens a "bad habit" that was preventing them from doing "gorilla things," so signage was installed asking guests not to show them any photos and videos, "as some content can be upsetting and affect their relationships and behaviour within their family."

And reducing the animals' screentime has actually worked in renewing their instincts and making them return to their normal activities.

Given that humans are thought to share 98 per cent of our DNA with gorillas, the fact that screens interfered so much with their development — and that prohibiting them improved their mood and behaviour — is an interesting, if pretty predictable, takeaway.

And people online seem to agree that, as one person on Twitter said today, there's a lesson here for the rest of us.

The zoo's animal experts do let the gorillas have some screentime, though, but in a much more limited and controlled way that's mentally enriching, rather than detrimental. On scheduled movie nights, the apes apparently prefer to watch nature content that features other gorillas.

Lead photo by

A Great Capture

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