Humans are naturally connected to animals. Many people love animals but not all would risk their lives in order to save one. This man, however, goes through great lengths to do just that.
The man in question is Rick Swope, who came to the newly opened chimpanzee exhibit in Detroit with his wife and their three children. They were hoping to have a fun day filled with excitement. They went to see the Chimps of Harambe exhibit and expected to watch playful chimp games. However, they got a little more excitement than they were hoping for.
Two chimpanzees got into a fight near the water. Jo-Jo, the smaller chimp ran towards the trees and the bigger, more aggressive chimp followed him.
The bigger chimp caught up with Jo-Jo and while Jo-Jo tried to escape, he fell into the water. He was in desperate need of help because chimps can’t swim. The only thing that could rescue Jo-Jo was if someone would come to save him.
Powerless, the crowd watched as Jo-Jo disappeared under the water. When he made it back up, it was evident that he wouldn’t make it to shore. When he disappeared under the water again it was clear that something needed to happen fast.
The staff didn’t move but Rick decided to come to the rescue. He ran toward the edge of the exhibit when the staff tried to warn him not to go in as the apes can be incredibly aggressive and territorial. He ignored them and jumped into the water to save Jo-Jo.
He swam to Jo-Jo and grabbed him by his left arm. The rest of his body Rick used to get them out of the water. It was clear that Jo-Jo was utterly terrified as he didn’t move in Rick’s arms.
When they reached the edge of the water, Rick gave Jo-Jo a push to get him up to the grass. It appeared that Jo-Jo might fall back into the water but Rick made sure he was all the way on the grass.
“When I finally got him up the bank and I could hold him up there, he wasn’t moving,” Rick later said on Animal Planet. “He was lifeless, but he was looking at me when I got him turned around, so I knew he was alive.”
Now that Jo-Jo was safe, Rick realized that he now needed to worry about his own safety. Even experts aren’t always willing to cross into the chimp’s territory and Rick was right in the heart of it. While the crowd yelled at him to stay with Jo-Jo to make sure he was alright, some other chimp was already on his way to Rick.
Rick swam as fast as possible to the border of the exhibit and climbed out. He’s an absolute hero for saving the helpless Jo-Jo.
“Everyone in the whole place was just standing around and watching this monkey drown,” he explained to the Desert News. “When he went down the second time I knew I had to do something.”
Rick’s brave behavior truly makes him a hero. He didn’t even blink an eye and he immediately came into action to rescue the helpless animal. It’s incredibly heartwarming to see such a thing and we’re happy that both Rick and Jo-Jo are safe.