Female Orangutans Will Use A Tinder-like App To Look For Mates
We can all agree that’s not such a great thing when your parents present you with your future husband or wife, and there’s no option whatsoever. Now, even though it’s not quite the same, orangutans don’t really have a choice in who they’ll be having their future offspring. And because of this, a Dutch zoo is exploring a way of allowing female orangutans to have some options in regards to future mates by making use of a Tinder-like software.
Part of a 4-year-long experiment funnily dubbed “Tinder for orangutans,” the Apenheul primate park in Apeldoorn in the Netherlands have chosen the 11-year-old female Samboja to be the first of her species to swipe between potential mates. A behavioural biologist from the zoo, Thomas Bionda, will present her with photos on a touchscreen with various orangutan males. This is also done in the hopes of learning more about the orangutan mating choices.
As you already know, or suspected, orangutans are now an endangered species. As we’ve cut through their environment, there are fewer apes than ever before. This is why it’s of an utmost importancy to find a way in preserving the species. And one good way is to somehow make them mate more often than ever before.
Those held in captivity are often shipped around all over the globe in order to facilitate this thing happening. But things don’t always go according to plan, and sometimes the orangutans simply don’t want to mate. With this program, these researchers are hoping to make these transfers be more successful.
“Things don’t always go well when a male and a female first meet,” Bionda said.“Often, animals have to be taken back to the zoo they came from without mating.”
The first issue here was for the team to design a device strong enough to withstand these orangutans’ not so delicate handling. The first such tablet was made out of steel and it even managed to survive for two weeks. That was up until it was given to Samboja’s mother, Sandy, aka Demolition Woman. Scientists are now looking for a screen capable of withstanding such abuse.
“This is completely digital, of course,” he said. “Usually, smell plays an important role too. But with the orangutans, it will be what you see is what you get.”
Bionda is also interested in learning more about the role of emotions in animal relationships.
“Emotion is of huge evolutionary importance. If you don’t interpret an emotion correctly in the wild, it can be the end of you.”