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Apps for Apes: Orangutans Love the iPad

2013-7-21
Hello, and welcome to “As It Is,” our daily magazine show for people learning American English.

I’m Christopher Cruise in Washington.

Today on the program, we visit with some apes who really like a tablet computer that many people also like: an Apple iPad.


Orangutan Outreach
Orangutan Outreach says the iPad is a perfect device for the animal because of the touchscreen technology. With some assistance, the orangutans are able to use different apps to listen to music, play games and do other activities.

Mr. Zimmerman describes what has been reported by zoos on the reaction of the apes to seeing and using the tablets.

“The young orangutans are very curious, and they go to it immediately. The females seem to be the, the quickest learners. Some of the big males, are, are -- they’re not scared, but they’re curious as to what this strange thing is. And they, they spend a little time watching it from a distance.”

The program was first launched at the Milwaukee County Zoo. It has expanded to more than ten other zoos as well as a rescue center for apes in the United States and Canada, and is growing worldwide.

You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers…

Many listeners expressed interest in Apps for Apes when we first broadcast this story. They asked a lot of questions, so we decided to answer them.

But first, we here at Learning English had our own question -- how should we say the name of the ape? June Simms tells us…

Many people wrongly say “orangutang” -- with a “g” at the end. Maybe because orangutans are orange, people relate the name to the color. But there is no connection. Orangutan Outreach’s Richard Zimmerman explains where the name came from.

“People in Malaysia and Indonesia would say “orang hu tan” and it’s actually, it doesn’t mean orange. “Orang” is the Malay or Indonesian word for man or human, and “utan” comes from “hutan” with an “h,” which means forest. So essentially, orangutan means person of the forest.”


Wiley Post
And that’s “As It Is.” We hope you enjoyed our program today.

Thanks to Kim Varzi, who wrote the program, and to Kim and June Simms, who presented it.

Every day on “As It Is” we explore the latest events and report on issues that concern you. We would love to know what you want to hear on the show.

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I’m Christopher Cruise, and that’s “As It Is” on The Voice of America.