The Toronto Zoo has put up signs requesting visitors to refrain from showing cellphone videos to the gorillas, in an effort to limit screen time for the primates. The signs outside the gorilla enclosure explain that some content can be upsetting to the gorillas and may impact their relationships and behavior within their family. While no significant behavioral changes have been observed yet, zoo officials want to ensure that the animals’ lives remain as natural as possible.
Nassir, a gorilla born in 2009, has shown a particular interest in videos on visitors’ phones. The zoo’s website states that Nassir is fascinated by videos and would spend all his time on screen if he had the choice. However, excessive screen time was causing him to be distracted and prevented him from interacting with other gorillas. The zoo already allows controlled viewing of nature documentaries for Nassir and the other gorillas.
The goal is to let the gorillas be gorillas and provide visitors with a chance to observe them in their natural state. By refraining from showing cellphone videos, visitors can help maintain a more authentic and meaningful experience for both the gorillas and themselves.