Truck driver jumped into forbidden zoo enclosure to rescue a drowning Chimp when no one else would

"He was looking at the crowd. It was like he wanted someone to rescue him."


Zoos tend to place signs around the enclosures of the animals, warning visitors not to get too close. However, that didn’t stop one brave truck driver from jumping inside one in order to save a chimpanzee’s life.

As Rick Swope, his wife, and their three children were admiring the animals at the Detroit zoo, they witnessed a fight breaking out between two male chimps. 

Source: YouTube/ Animal Planet

Jo-Jo, one of the chimps which was less aggressive and tried to avoid the fight, fell into the the moat which was deep. The poor animal started drowning and people were just helplessly looking at him, still unaware of what was happening. 

Then, Swope jumped into the water without hesitating even a bit. He grabbed the chimp and brought him back to safety. The onlookers were left in complete shock because of the incredible scene that unfolded in front of their eyes. 

“It was the most pitiful thing I ever saw,” Swope said after the rescue. “This chimp had his hands up and his head was sticking out of the water. He was looking at the crowd. It was like he wanted someone to rescue him.”

During the rescue, the zoo staff kept telling Swope to get out, but he never thought of doing that without Jo-Jo. “People . . . were showing me which direction he was in,” Swope recalled. “The water was so dirty you couldn`t see through it. I swam around on the bottom. Finally I found him.”

Source: YouTube/ Animal Planet

Luckily, Swope managed to get Jo-Jo over a cable designed to keep chimps from slipping in the moat. 

“He was pretty lifeless, but you could see he was still alive. He was looking at me. I think he knew what was going on,” Swope said.

Jo-Jo looked straight into Swope’s eyes as though he was saying thank you. He was aware a man saved his life that day. 

“Well, you see, I happened to look into his eyes, and it was like looking into the eyes of a man, and the message was, ‘Won’t anybody help me?’”

Source: YouTube/ Animal Planet

Jane Goodall from the zoo said how Jo-Jo’s life wasn’t an easy one. He was brought to the zoo when he was very young after his mom was killed by poachers. 

“[But] if you see that look with your eyes, and you feel it in your heart, you have to jump in and try to help,” she said.

This is definitely one of the most dramatic rescues you’ve ever seen. Swope is such an incredible man. He risked his life for an animal’s and that speaks a lot of his bravery.

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