Chicago, IL

Teen gorilla in Chicago Zoo getting too much screen time from visitors’ cellphones

B.R. Shenoy

"We are growing increasingly concerned that too much of his time is taken looking through people's photos… We really prefer that he spend much more time with his troop mates learning to be a gorilla." —Stephen Ross, director of the zoo's Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes, told Newsweek.

Lincoln Park Zoo attendants are concerned about Amare, a 16-year-old, 415-pound gorilla preoccupied with peering through the glass at visitors' phones, per the Chicago Sun-Times.

He sits by the glass, and people show him images and videos of themselves, their families, pets, and even Amare himself.

"It's probably a cyclical phenomena: the more he shows interest, the more people want to engage in it," Ross said according to People.

They are concerned that he is becoming anti-social and inattentive. Last week, for example, another juvenile gorilla charged at him in an aggressive display, and Amare didn't appear to notice.

Three other male "bachelor" gorillas share Amare's habitat, and zoo attendants are concerned that they, too, may develop a screen addiction.

Zoo authorities have put a rope to keep visitors and their phones a few feet away from the glass, hoping that this would reduce Amare's screen time and allow him to spend more time playing and interacting with the other gorillas.

Staff members at the zoo have stated that they want people to be able to engage with the gorillas safely, but they urge that you keep your mobile devices to yourselves.

What are your thoughts on this cell phone-addicted gorilla? Please share in the comments.

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