Chimpanzees at Czech zoo get screen time amid virus lockdown

Science

A chimpanzee watches a screen set at the enclosure at the Safari Park in Dvur Kralove, Czech Republic, Monday, March 15, 2021. To enrich everyday life of their chimpanzees amid a strict lockdown, a zoo park in the Czech Republic has installed a big screen in their enclosure to broadcast for them what fellow chimpanzees are doing at a zoo in Brno. The Safari Park launched the experimental project to give the chimpanzees somebody to watch and give them some fun after crowds of visitors disappeared when the zoo was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic on Dec 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

PRAGUE (AP) — A zoo in the Czech Republic is trying out a new way for its bored chimpanzees to monkey around during the coronavirus lockdown: face time with other primates.

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.

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.

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