First and foremost, we strongly believe that wild animals should be in their natural habitats, not confined in zoos. Take chimpanzees, for example; they deserve to live freely on their own terms.
No matter how much space they’re given or how well they’re looked after, they’re still better off in the wild.
That being said, we felt compelled to share this remarkable video with you. It showcases an act of heroism, where a man disregards zoo regulations and warning signs to rescue a chimpanzee from a pit.
This incident took place at the Detroit Zoo, where a man-made moat surrounded the chimpanzee enclosure. In 1990, a chimpanzee named Jo-Jo tragically fell into it. Pursued by a more aggressive chimp, he managed to leap over the barrier meant to keep him out of the water.
Jo-Jo was visibly distressed and struggled to keep his composure. About ten astonished bystanders watched as he fought for his life in the water.
Among them was Rick Swope, a 33-year-old truck driver who was there with his wife and three children. When he saw the fear in Jo-Jo’s eyes, he knew he had to act. Without hesitation, Rick jumped into the water to rescue the large ape.
It’s crucial to note that chimps possess five times the strength of humans. Not only was Rick entering a restricted area, but Jo-Jo was also surrounded by a large group of potentially aggressive chimpanzees.
Rick didn’t hesitate. As he pulled Jo-Jo out of the water and onto solid ground, his family watched in awe. It wasn’t an easy feat…
At one point, Rick lost control of Jo-Jo, who went back underwater. However, after another attempt, Rick succeeded in freeing the 200-pound (90 kg), 18-year-old chimpanzee.
When Jo-Jo emerged from the water, he was in rough shape, but he was alive. Rick’s swift action saved him.
“He was watching me. I think he knew what was happening,” Rick recounted to the Chicago Tribune.
You can watch this incredible rescue here:
Share this video to honor the courageous act of this truck driver!