Shelter Dog Meal Donation Count:

Learn More

Zoo Staff ‘Refused’ To Save Drowning Chimp But Suddenly Man Jumped Into Enclosure

Written by: Dee Michaels
Dee Michaels is a passionate and accomplished writer, renowned for his heartwarming and engaging stories on more
| Published on June 12, 2024

For those standing near the chimpanzee exhibit, a typical day at the Detroit Zoo rapidly descended into pandemonium. Spectators were enthralled as two chimps giggled and chased one another around the area, but then everything changed.

One of the chimps, in a playful but miscalculated leap, fell into the water-filled moat surrounding the enclosure. Panic spread through the crowd as it became apparent that the chimpanzee was struggling to stay afloat. Chimps, like most primates, are not strong swimmers and can easily drown in deep water.

Rick Swope was standing right in front of the enclosure and decided to step in and help instead of watching on the sidelines. Without hesitation, he climbed over the barrier and waded into the moat, determined to save the struggling chimpanzee.

Despite the zoo staff’s frantic attempts to dissuade him, fearing for his safety, Rick continued his mission. He quickly reached the chimp, who was flailing helplessly in the water. The crowd watched in stunned silence as Rick grasped the chimp under its arms and began to drag it toward the shore.

The rescue was not without its dangers. The moat’s slippery bottom and the weight of the chimp made the task incredibly difficult, but Rick’s determination and strength prevailed. He carefully navigated back to the edge, where zoo staff and bystanders pulled the chimp to safety.

As Rick climbed out of the moat, drenched and exhausted, the crowd erupted in applause. The chimp, now safe on solid ground, appeared dazed but unharmed. Zoo staff quickly tended to the chimpanzee, ensuring it was not injured and helping it recover from the ordeal.

Rick Swope’s brave and selfless act made headlines, and he was hailed as a hero. His willingness to risk his own safety to save an animal in distress touched the hearts of many and highlighted the extraordinary lengths to which people will go to protect and care for animals.

This dramatic incident served as a powerful reminder of the deep connection between humans and animals, and the incredible impact of compassion and bravery in moments of crisis. Rick Swope’s actions not only saved a life that day but also inspired countless others to act with courage and kindness, reinforcing the idea that one person’s actions can make a significant difference in the world.

Image Source Credit via YouTube

One of the chimps slipped and fell into the moat that surrounded the exhibit just as the other began to chase one another around the enclosure’s trees. It was clear that the chimp was battling to stay afloat, yet zoo personnel refused to assist him.

Rick told the Chicago Tribune how desperate the situation was and how scared the animal looked.


“It was the most pitiful thing I ever saw. 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.”

Rick noticed that no one else was willing to take action, so he did. He explained what happened once in the water to the Chicago Tribune.


Image Source Credit via YouTube

People were showing me which direction he was in. The water was so dirty you couldn’t see through it. I swam around on the bottom. Finally I found him…

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… The monkey never made any attempt to do anything to me.

I was thinking, what do you do now? Do you do mouth-to-mouth on a monkey? I remember thinking he might bite me if I did that.

Then I looked up and saw there was another one coming down the hill with his teeth bared. I didn’t know if he was going after the other monkey or after me, but I got the hell out of there.”


Rick said he didn’t seek attention when people crowded around him as soon as Rick left the cage. He just couldn’t bear to watch an innocent creature go by in front of his eyes!

This man is a HERO! You’ll will see in the video below. We need more people like him. Watch the video below…

Image Source Credit via YouTube



Watch this GRIPPING story below of a hero and a chimpanzee who deserved to be saved. Please ‘SHARE’ this story with a friend or family member!

Please ‘SHARE’ to pass on this story to a friend or family member

Click ‘SHARE’ below to pass it on to a friend or family member!


Stay for one more story!

His Heart Ached So Much After Family Dumped Him, Shuts Himself Down And Cried All Day:

Click to read this story. . .