World first for Melbourne Zoo orangutans

Published: 09 February 2016


Seven orangutans from Melbourne Zoo are playing interactive video games using Xbox technology.

In an effort to keep Melbourne Zoo's orangutans from getting bored, staff are experimenting with offering them access to interactive video games.

Zoo’s Victoria has worked alongside researchers from the University of Melbourne’s Microsoft Research Centre for Social Natural User Interfaces (NUI) to create the interactive games.

Minister Lisa Neville said the interactive video games has helped keep some of the more mischievous orangutans from escaping by keeping them busy and free from boredom.


Malu one of the male orangatans who has escaped in the past has surprised researchers with how quickly he has mastered the games.

“over the last week as he has played with this new technology we have had to keep upgrading it as he continues to learn,” said Minister Neville

“We’ve seen the orangutans take the next level…they want to learn, they want to play and that is how they are enriched and fulfilled,”

“It’s a positive step forward for both the quality of live and the enrichment of our orangutans,” Minister Neville said today

The world-first pilot study began on Monday and will initially run for four weeks.