The Toronto Zoo wants visitors to stop sharing videos with its curious and impressionable gorillas.
Signs posted near the animals’ exhibit ask patrons to avoid showing videos to the gorillas, “as some content can be upsetting and affect their relationships and behavior within their family,” according to Canadian news outlet CP24.
Hollie Ross, the zoo’s behavioral husbandry supervisor, told CP24 last week: “We just want the gorillas to be able to be gorillas.”
“When our guests come to the zoo, we want them to be able to see gorillas in a very natural state, and what they would be doing naturally — to sort of connect with them on that level,” she said.
Ms. Ross said there haven’t been any changes in the animals’ behavior yet, but one gorilla, Nassir, is drawn to the videos that guests show him.
“Nassir, in particular, was really interested in seeing different videos,” Ms. Ross said. “I think, mostly, he was seeing videos of other animals. But, I think what is really important is that he’s able to just hang out with his brother and be a gorilla.”
The zoo’s website says that nearly 14-year-old Nassir is fascinated by the videos zookeepers have already shown him.
But the caretakers are vigilant about what videos they do show the gorillas — and how often they give the creatures screen time.
“Very much like managing an account for a child or something, you want to make sure that your parental controls are on, and that you’re in control of what the content is that they’re seeing,” Ms. Ross said.