January 18, 2022


World News

Monkeys go bananas for sounds of traffic in Helsinki zoo

A zoo in Helsinki concluded an experiment on Tuesday 3 November, which aims to give animals in zoos more control of their environment, by taking advantage of technology, and particular sound. Scientists set up a ‘sound tunnel’ in an enclosure which is home to Saki monkeys, native to the amazon, the sound tunnel would activate when the monkeys would enter it. Depending on the sound that that was playing in the tunnel, and the time the monkeys spent inside it, scientists where able to gauge the monkeys preferred sound, which surprisingly turned out to be the sounds of Indian traffic ​The behavioural experiment was designed by Aalto University’s Department of Computer Science. “We were looking at ways that animals could control their environment, because it’s been researched and shown that it’s really good for their welfare and happiness. So we started off by thinking of lots of ideas on what we could do, and we settled on music or audio as a way to enrich them,” The researcher behind the experiment, Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, stated, as sounds play a decisive role to animals in their communication and well-being. Scientists set up a little sound tunnel device made out of wood and plastic inside the animals enclosure, that would activate when the monkeys would enter it playing four soundtracks ranging from electronic music, sounds of rain and calming Zen music to traffic noises. Depending on the amount of time spent inside the tunnel playing a determinate song, scientists could gauge monkeys’ preferred sound to make their lives more comfortable in their enclosure, which turned out to be “a lot of beeping, a lot of cars and heavy traffic sounds,” Hirskyj-Douglas said. “We don’t really know why they did it, which is I guess why it’s such an interesting finding, because you never know which way animals are going to surprise you,” Hirskyj-Douglas added.