The internet is going gaga over a photograph of a woman sharing videos with a gorilla at a zoo in Kentucky.
Lindsey Costello was visiting the gorilla sanctuary at the Louisville Zoo with her friends when she came across an interesting scene. A woman was sitting next to one of the cages seemingly showing videos on her phone to a gorilla.
Costello said the woman noticed how fascinated she was about it and offered to let her try. The excited zoogoer then spent the next 20 minutes to the cage playing videos to one of the gorillas named Jelani.
Costello learned that her new friend was a lot smarter than he seemed. Jelani was able to tell her if he was getting tired of watching a video my gesturing his hand. When she moved her phone away, he would stretch his hand out. She said her hairy friend looked like he really enjoyed video watching.
One of Costello's human friends took a photo of the two new pals and posted it on the internet, where it didn't take long for it to become viral.
Jill Katka, assistant mammal curator for the Louisville Zoo, said the gorillas in the zoo really appreciate it when people come visit and spend time with them. She said some of the older female gorillas seemed to love children.
Of all the inhabitants of the gorilla sanctuary, Jelani has always stood out. Jelani has always had an affinity with technology even when he was young.
Katka pointed out that Jelani's love for watching videos has helped make him an internet sensation a few times in the past. This, in turn, has also helped draw people's attention to one of the most critically endangered animals.
"He kind of grew up looking at pictures and hanging out with people," the zoo curator explained. "That just makes him a wonderful ambassador for gorillas."
Katka said she hopes that people get to learn just how smart gorillas are, and how caring and compassionate they really are. She said they are not merely wild animals being kept in captivity, and that they truly have a heart.
Megan Elder, a zookeeper at the Como Park Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota, said gorillas are quite fond of watching videos. She said the animals are just as curious about humans and their mobile phones as people are about them.
Elder said gorillas would often watch videos on zoogoers' phones if they hold them up for the apes to see. This helps the animals stay healthy as it stimulates their brains even in captivity.
"Part of our enrichment program-we do show them videos, and we try to use different things," Elder pointed out.
"Like, sometimes it's cartoons. Sometimes it's nature films. And so we get different reactions out of them based on their personalities."