Marvin Gaye tunes have been helping humans get in the mood for decades, but what about Barbary macaques?
two Barbary Macaques monkeys affectionately groom each other during a performance of Marvin Gaye music
Credit: franz massard / Adobe Stock

When you need your monkeys to mate, you need the help of a Motown legend.

So recently, staff at the Trentham Monkey Forest in Stafford, England, invited love song extraordinaire David Largie to sing some Marvin Gaye hits for their Barbary macaque troop in hopes of encouraging some, ahem, sexual healing.

It's unclear why, but getting some animals to mate in captivity can be a struggle. A lack of privacy and proper social cues may be factors for some species. That's why zoos are testing new ways to promote successful mating amongst their inhabitants, like Tinder for Orangutans—or bringing in someone to impersonate the Prince of Soul.

And did Largie sing "Let's Get It On" earlier this month? Oh yeah. Take a listen:

And it might've worked! According to the zoo, the macaques responded well to their serenading, seeming very relaxed and displaying classic mating behavior like teeth chattering and grooming during the performance.

On the zoo's website, Park Director Matt Lovatt said he thought the concert could encourage their female macaques to show more affection to male ones who might've been unlucky in love. While the impact of the serenading won't be evident for a few months, the zoo is hoping to have a record number of babies this season thanks to Largie's soothing talents.

"Birthing season occurs in late spring/early summer each year, so hopefully Marvin's done his magic and we can welcome some new babies!" Lovatt said.

Lovatt said each birth is vital to the species because Barbary macaques are endangered. There are only an estimated 8,000–10,000 Barbary macaques left in the wild due to habitat loss and the illegal pet trade.

Do Animals Like Human Music?

Researchers have tested the impact of human music on many animals, and it seems that each species responds differently to music (and types of music). So far teams have found that classical music may calm dogs; bird and human brains react to music similarly; fish can learn to distinguish between composers; and mosquitoes listening to dubstep have less sex.

In primate studies, zoo monkeys that were able to turn on and off Top 40 radio displayed unusual behaviors less often, and baboons' heart rates decreased when listening to the radio.

We'll have to wait for warmer days until we learn whether Gaye's legendary love anthems helped fuel a baby boom for these zoo monkeys. But in the spirit of love, we'll hope for the best!