After Zoo Refuses To Rescue Drowning Chimp, Man Jumps Over Guard Rail To Help

Whatever you think of zoos (and admittedly, I’m pretty torn about them myself), they are supposed to care for and protect the animals that live there. However, when a chimp was drowning at a zoo in Detroit, Michigan, staff there refused to step in to do anything to help. Thankfully, an animal lover named Rick was there, and when he saw what was happening, he immediately jumped in to help.

  1. Rick and his family noticed a fight break up between the chimps. The smaller of the two, Jo-Jo, was trying to run away from the bigger one and ran towards a group of trees. However, he soon lost his footing and fell into a moat full of water.
  2. Chimps can’t swim. Their natural habitat is in the trees, so it wasn’t long before Jo-Jo began flailing around, panicking as he tried to keep his head above water. There was no way he was going to be able to get back to dry ground on his own.
  3. Zoo staff did nothing to help. It’s clear they had no idea what to do in this situation, but there was no time for dilly-dallying. Jo-Jo’s life was in danger, and Rick knew he had to do something.
  4. Rick climbed the guard rail and jumped right in the water. He swam over to Jo-Jo without thinking twice and grabbed the animal, holding onto him while frantically paddling towards dry ground. Jo-Jo held on tight, trusting Rick to get him to safety.
  5. Jo-Jo safely made it back to land thanks to Rick. “When I finally got him up the bank and I could hold him up there, he wasn’t moving,” Rick told Animal Planet after the incident. “He was lifeless, but he was looking at me when I got him turned around, so I knew he was alive.”
  6. Rick had to get out of the chimp enclosure ASAP. Given that chimps can be very aggressive when a stranger enters their territory, Rick knew he had to get out of there as soon as he could. And after making sure Jo-Jo was safe, that was exactly what he did.
  7. Rick is a true hero! Not everyone would be brave enough and so quick-thinking as he was, and his quick actions saved Jo-Jo’s life. We need more Ricks!

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill