Our globe is home to amazing flora and fauna, yet most of us are in some way connected to animals. However, few of us would risk our lives only to save an animal! Rick Swope, for one, would! The 33-year-old trucker from Cement City, Mich., drove his wife and family to see the recently opened Chimpanzees of Harambe exhibit in Detroit to spend the day and watch the lively chimps.
However, two chimps began grappling close to the water, and when the smaller one, Jo-Jo, ran towards the trees, the larger and more combative one chased after him. He caught up with Jo-Jo, and while attempting to flee, Jo-Jo fell into the river. He was worried since chimpanzees can’t swim! As the ape continued to go into the water the crows realized that something had to be done as soon as possible!
Rick decided to take action at this time. He subsequently remarked that it was “the most pathetic sight” he had ever seen since the chimpanzee was gazing at the audience with his hands raised and his “head popping out of the water.” Rick felt as if he needed to be rescued. He dashed to the exhibit’s boundary. The staff cautioned him that the apes may be hostile, but he disregarded their warnings and dove into the water. He swam to Jo-Jo, but he lost his grasp on the monkey in 5 feet of water on his first attempt.
He remembered: “People… were pointing out to me which way he was going.” You couldn’t see through the water because it was so unclean. I swam under the water and finally, I found him.” He ultimately snatched his left arm from him. Rick was desperate to bring Jo-Jo out of the water, despite his obvious fear. Rick offered Jo-Jo a shove up to the grassland as they reached the other side of the water.
“When I eventually pulled him up the bank and was able to hold him, he didn’t move.” He was motionless when I flipped him around; since he was staring at me, so I realized he was still alive.”
He was urged by the audience to remain with the monkey and make sure he was okay, but another chimpanzee was already approaching Rick. He swam as quickly as he could and jumped out of the exhibit’s boundary. People were “standing around watching this animal sink,” he later claimed, so he felt compelled to act. While word of the rescue travelled quickly, Jane Goodall was impressed by the brave man’s actions.
“He contacted Rick Swope and told him, ‘You did a really courageous thing.’ You have to have understood it was risky.
You had been told by everyone. ‘What compelled you to do it?’ ‘Well, you know, I just looked into his eyes, and it was like gazing into the eyes of a man, and the signal was, ‘Won’t somebody assist me?'” Rick explained. Jo-Jo was removed from the wild jungle after his mother was slain by poachers, according to Goodall. “You have to step in and attempt to assist if you see that sight with your eyes and sense it in your soul”, Rick said.