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Are gorillas spending too much time looking at cellphones?

One zoo is telling visitors to stop showing its gorillas cellphone videos. It's not the only zoo concerned about screen time.
Are gorillas spending too much time looking at cellphones?
Posted at 2:22 PM, Jul 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-10 14:22:35-04

The Toronto Zoo is reportedly advising visitors to stop showing gorillas videos and photos on their smartphones after claiming their use can be "upsetting and affect their relationships and behavior within their family," CP24 reported. 

The outlet reported that the zoo has not observed any significant behavioral changes. But the zoo noted one of its gorillas' interest in smartphone photos and videos and doesn't want it to go too far. 

"We don't really want our guests coming and showing them videos. We would rather have them see them do gorilla things," Hollie Ross, behavioral husbandry supervisor at the zoo, told CP24. "Nassir, in particular, was really interested in seeing different videos. I think, mostly, he was seeing videos of other animals. But, I think what is really important is that he's able to just hang out with his brother and be a gorilla."

The zoo mentions Nassir's fascination with cellphone video on his profile page.

"Nassir is truly the epitome of a teenager, fascinated by videos and screen time would dominate his life if he had his way," the zoo said.

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Nassir is not the only gorilla out there who has an interest in what is on visitors' smartphones. Last year, Newsweek reported that the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago was concerned about one of its gorillas' interest in smartphone images. 

"We are growing increasingly concerned that too much of his time is taken looking through people's photos," Stephen Ross, director of the zoo's Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes, told Newsweek. "We really prefer that he spend much more time with his troop mates learning to be a gorilla."

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