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An iPad App for Orangutans

From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report in Special English. Humans are not the only ones who like to use tablet computers. The nonprofit organization Orangutan Outreach has started a program called Apps for Apes using Apple's iPad. Orangutan Outreach was started by Richard Zimmerman six years ago. Its goal is to protect orangutans in the wild.

The organization launched Apps for Apes one year ago. The program introduces the Apple iPad to orangutans in zoos. Apps for Apes has three goals. The first is to provide activities for captive orangutans. The second is to raise awareness among zoo visitors about how smart these animals are. The third goal is to urge people to visit Orangutan Outreach's website,, to learn how they can help protect wild orangutans.

Orangutan Outreach says the iPad is a perfect device for orangutans because of the touchscreen technology. With some assistance, the animals are able to use apps to listen to music, play games and do other activities. Apps for Apes was first launched at the Milwaukee County Zoo in Wisconsin. It has expanded to more than 10 other zoos and a rescue center for apes in the United States and Canada. And it is growing worldwide.

Richard Zimmerman says the program could affect the behavior of orangutans, but it is too early to know. Zoo officials have told him about the apes' reaction to seeing and using iPads. He says young orangutans seem very interested. They go to the device immediately. Females seem to be the quickest learners. And some big males are simply curious about the tablet. They spend time watching it from a distance.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Alex Villarreal. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 04Feb2013)