Jelani the silverback gorilla lives in the Gorilla Forest exhibit at Louisville Zoo. He’s one of the most popular residents in the zoo, mainly due to his fascination with Smartphones. Visitors love taking photos of the gorilla interacting with them and their tech – in fact, Jelani went viral recently for that reason after a visitor experienced his fascination firsthand.

Visitor has firsthand experience with Jelani the gorilla

As noted by Tech Times, Lindsey Costello, 19, visited the Gorilla Forest exhibit last week and had a firsthand experience with Jelani. She sat next to the glass at the gorilla exhibit and Jelani came up to her.

She then showed the gorilla various images and videos on her smartphone.

Costello couldn’t believe it when the silverback sat there, staring at video after video for almost 20 minutes. Reportedly, the videos were of baby gorillas and he was fascinated by them. She said he even seemed to make requests – if she moved her phone away, Jelani would stretch over to try and see it. If he got tired of a particular image or video, the gorilla raised his arm in a swipe gesture. She said it was amazing, like something from the movies.

After Costello posted an image of her interaction with Jelani on Instagram, it quickly went viral. She joked about that fact on Twitter.

Nothing new in the zoo for Jelani

According to assistant mammal curator Jill Katka, this is not unusual for Jelani.

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She told CBS News that the gorilla is a very relaxed and social individual. People spot him sitting in his habitat and can clearly see his intelligence and charisma. Katka explained that the silverback’s obsession with photos and videos began at a young age. Jelani was born at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago in January 1997 and when he was young he fell and injured himself. Zoo volunteers kept him occupied during his recovery by showing him videos and books.

In 2002, the gorilla was transferred to Louisville Zoo where volunteers and staff continued the practice of showing him photos, a habit he grew to love. As technology advanced, so did Jelani’s preferences, and staff started showing him photos and videos on tablets and smartphones.

Now, officials at the zoo are hoping that their internet star will become an ambassador for all gorillas. Katka explained that many of their volunteers first felt compassion for wildlife while visiting the zoo. She said that the aim is to save all gorillas, and to prevent the slaughter of one of the most magnificent species on Earth.