I just listened to the most horrifying thing I have heard, the 911 call from the owner of the chimp that mauled a woman in Connecticut. It is a bell you can’t un-ring. If you have not heard it, I don’t recommend listening to it. I’m not even going to link to it in this post. Suffice it to say, that the mauling victim, if she survives, will be permanently altered, both physically and mentally, by this event, and the chimp owner will suffer irreparable psychological damage.
It’s easy as a champion of all thing apes for me to sit in judgment of this woman for keeping a chimp as a pet. They are more than wild animals. They are wild animals with above average intelligence that live in hierarchal groups where the most brutal and cunning rise to Alpha male status. They have a genetic predisposition for violence. They organize “war parties” in the wild and hunt down other chimps that they kill with great zeal. And this is not new information. This behavior has been reported on for decades. Dr. Jane Goodall has brought us groundbreaking information on these great apes for the last 45 years. Chimps are not human. It’s hard to even classify them as animals that operate solely on instinct. They operate on a very deliberate and cognitive level. They think. Don’t misunderstand me. They don’t think like humans. They think like chimps, and chimps think in very primitive (by human standards) and brutal ways. Violence is in many ways the solution.
But it is important for us as a society to not pile on the owner of this chimp. I don’t even want to mention her name here because it’s useless. I’m not a journalist. I’m a writer that keeps a blog of mostly useless observations. This unfortunate woman is going to have to live with her decision for the rest of her life. She kept a chimp as a pet. That decision has left her life in ruins. It is undeniable. She will blame herself for this tragedy until the day she dies, and I don’t wish that on her. She lost her beloved chimp and her friend is likely out of her life even if she manages to survive the injuries. The chimp owner miscalculated the nature of nature. Survival is the first priority of any animal, sometimes even if that animal is human.
Humans may be even worse. There are those who have felt the need to send this woman emails that contain taunts and threats. There is nothing that can be done or said to this woman that will mend the pain and agony she will feel for the rest of her days. The threats are not only vulgar, they are unnecessary. I’m deeply disturbed that the chimp had to be destroyed. I understand the anger. But I also understand that the owner of the chimp has suffered greatly.
The best trait human’s have is compassion. I suggest we use it for all involved in this horrific tragedy.