A well-known animal welfare organization calls on people to think twice before liking and sharing a monkey movie clip that went viral this week. The apparently cute video shows how a chimpanzee scrolls through Instagram on a smartphone as if it were the most normal thing in the world. But we should never see it that way, emphasizes the Jane Goodall Institute, which stands up for the welfare of primates.
The institute, founded by primatologist Jane Goodall, writes on its website that the video is a terrible representation of a captured young chimpanzee. According to the institute, this type of video gives the false impression that chimpanzees are cute pets. In addition, the images would contribute to the greater problem of the illegal trade in great apes. Every year 3000 great apes are stolen from the wild, according to a 2013 United Nations report.
In addition, chimpanzees can experience significant psychological problems when used for entertainment. And that while they are an endangered species. Videos like this give the impression that people can interact with the monkeys, while that can actually be very dangerous. There is a risk that diseases are transmitted and chimpanzees are often stronger than humans and quite aggressive.
Finally, the institute emphasizes that it is normal behavior for chimpanzees to play and use tools, but that it is not wise to give them a mobile phone. If they are encouraged to exhibit atypical behavior in captivity and in an unnatural environment, this can have harmful long-term effects on animal development.