Chimps Zoom Each Other Everyday To Help Beat The Pandemic Isolation

Just like humans, two chimps in Czech soon find themselves trying to fight the isolation of the pandemic – an issue solved, like for many of us, by Zoom.

It’s a well-known fact that chimps are humans closest relative within the animal world. We have all watched as over the years, different chimps have learned to sign and communicate with humans. Even beyond just basic communication, chimps too possess emotions similar to humans. They feel happy, sad, angry, frustrated. So, given this global pandemic that has been trying on us all, why would the same not go for chimps?

Chimps are social creatures, and in an effort not to give these animals COVID-19, many zoos have had to limit their contact with humans and even other chimps. Just as social isolation has been trying on us humans, the chimps are going through something very similar. They are lonely, bored, and confused.

To make up for a lack of visitors to the zoo this past year due to COVID restrictions and to raise the chimps’ spirits, two Czech zoo have come together to arrange daily Zoom calls so that the animals can interact and watch each other.

“At the beginning they approached the screen with defensive or threatening gestures, there was interaction,” said Gabriela Linhartova, ape keeper at Dvur Kralove, 84 miles east of Prague, in a statement to CNN. “It has since moved into the mode of ‘I am in the movies’ or ‘I am watching TV.’ When they see some tense situations, it gets them up off the couch, like us when we watch a live sport event.”

Funny enough, the chimps have begun adopting even more human behaviors through this daily Zoom, grabbing snacks to eat while watching the action on screen. Separate cameras of these Zoom interactions have been airing on the parks’ websites, which run from 8am to 4pm, and will continue until the end of March when the zoo keepers will evaluate if this should continue.

Even if the zoos do choose to stop these adorable virtual hang outs, this is a wonderful example of how we often forget just how closely related we are to our animal brethren and the ways in which they too have been touched deeply by this global crisis.