Famous YouTuber Teaches Iowa Ape to Play a Video Game [WATCH]
Did you know that Iowa is home to some very impressive bonobos?
Just outside of Des Moines is a place called the Ape Cognition & Conservation Initiative, the "only research facility in the world dedicated to the study and conservation of the species most closely related to humans – the endangered bonobo." The facility is home to seven different apes (NOT monkeys), including one named Kanzi.
Kanzi is a very accomplished ape. At the age of 42, the official website says he's "regarded as the first great ape to demonstrate an understanding of spoken English." He's able to use lexigrams and touch screens to communicate with his caregivers, which recently lead to a pretty cool opportunity for him!
A new article from the Des Moines Register revealed that Kanzi now knows how to play the video game Minecraft thanks to YouTuber ChrisDaCow. Chris Slayton (aka ChrisDaCow) reportedly saw videos of Kanzi online and reached out to the Ape Cognition & Conservation Initiative to see if they would allow him to come out and teach the ape a new skill. Hoping to reach a younger audience, the organization agreed!
Chris got to visit with Kanzi twice, and by his second visit, Kanzi was able to play the game against an unsuspecting human! A research coordinator at the Ape Initiative said that the game was not only mentally stimulating for Kanzi, but that he "genuinely enjoyed playing Minecraft, and he loved having a crowd clapping and cheering for him."
Chris' 23-minute video with Kanzi already has more than 2.7 MILLION views and has helped raise around $10,000 for the Ape Cognition & Conservation Initiative! You can read more about the organization and make a donation HERE.