Guy Dives Into Zoo Enclosure As Staff Refuse To Rescue A Helpless Drowning Ape

In 1990, a chimpanzee in Detroit Zoo fell into the water after being chased by another chimp, so Rick Swope, a zoo patron jumped into the ape enclosure to save him, ignoring the threat of other more aggressive apes.

Most zoos are ready to care for the animals in their exhibits, especially when one is in danger. When the zoo staff made no move to help a chimpanzee that was drowning, a visiting truck driver took matters into his own hands.

Rick Swope was enjoying a day at the zoo in Detroit with his wife and children. They wanted to see the new exhibit that had been built for the chimps.

When they got to the exhibit, they thought that they would be able to see the animals playing around with each other and enjoying the features of an exhibit designed to look like their natural habitat.


Two of the chimps started playing rather roughly near the water in the exhibit. Jo-Jo was smaller than the other chimp. He tried to get away by running to the trees. The other chimp was close behind him. As Jo-Jo tried to jump away from the larger chimp, he fell into the water, reports The Chicago Tribune.

Chimps aren’t able to swim, so he needed help right away. He wasn’t able to make it to the edge of the water to get out. Guests frantically watched to see if zoo workers would do anything to help Jo-Jo get out of the water.

Although the workers told Rick not to get in the exhibit, they were making no attempts to save the animal themselves, so he jumped in the water to save the chimp. Using his free arm and legs, Rick pulled Jo-Jo to the edge of the water so that they could both get out.

Rick noted that the chimp never did anything to him, though the same could not be said for another chimp that came down the slope with its teeth bared. He quickly made his way out of the exhibit. In comments to The Chicago Tribune, the zoo director said that Rick was the most unassuming person and was simply embarrassed by the attention his heroics brought him.

What do you think about this man’s bravery? Have you ever saved an animal from a dangerous situation? Let us know in the comments and show this act of courage and kindness to your friends and family as well!

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