Foremost, it’s important to state that we firmly believe wild animals should thrive in their natural habitats and not be confined to zoos. This holds particularly true for creatures like chimpanzees, which deserve to experience life in the wild without restraint.
Irrespective of the quality of care and the expanse of their enclosures, wild animals find their true fulfillment in their native environments.
Having expressed this viewpoint, we’d like to share a captivating rescue video with you. The footage depicts a man who courageously disregards the warnings and regulations of a zoo. He fearlessly enters an enclosure to save a chimpanzee, exemplifying an act of sheer heroism.
Back in 1990, an incident occurred at the Detroit Zoo involving a chimpanzee named Jo-Jo. This chimpanzee accidentally fell into a man-made moat within its enclosure while attempting to escape a more aggressive counterpart. Jo-Jo leaped over the fence designed to keep him out of the water, resulting in a distressing struggle to stay afloat. A group of approximately ten astonished onlookers observed as he faced drowning.
Among those present was Rick Swope, a 33-year-old truck driver, accompanied by his wife and children. Witnessing the panic in Jo-Jo’s eyes, Rick was compelled to take action. He boldly jumped into the water, defying the challenges posed by Jo-Jo’s strength, the prohibited area he entered, and the potential aggression of other chimpanzees nearby.
Rick’s unwavering determination came into view as he managed to pull Jo-Jo out of the water and onto dry land, though the rescue was not without its difficulties. There was a moment when Rick momentarily lost his grip on Jo-Jo, causing the chimpanzee to disappear beneath the water’s surface. Nevertheless, Rick persisted, and his second attempt proved successful, ultimately rescuing the 18-year-old, 200-pound (90 kg) chimpanzee.
Upon emerging from the water, Jo-Jo was in a debilitated state, yet miraculously alive. Rick’s valiant efforts had saved the chimpanzee’s life. Reflecting on the experience, Rick recounted to the Chicago Tribune, “He was looking at me. I think he knew what was going on.”
Witness this remarkable rescue in the video below: