Chimpanzee Attack

There are several things that seem awry in the news of a chimpanzee fight with police in Connecticut.

First of all, the AP has titled the story “Huge chimp shot dead after mauling woman”. That has King Kong-sized drama. Giant ape attacks helpless woman, climbs Empire state building. This chimp was 200 pounds. Consider also how the police characterize the owner’s behavior in this context.

“She retrieved a large butcher knife and stabbed her longtime pet numerous times in an effort to save her friend, who was really being brutally attacked,” said Stamford police Capt. Richard Conklin

Her friend may have been brutally attacked, but the owner first ran inside to call for help and then came back with a kitchen knife? That sounds weird to me.

Second, the story tells us that any animal is prone to violent behavior that can not be predicted:

“It’s deceiving to think that if any animal is … well-behaved around humans, that means there is no risk involved to humans for potential outbursts of behavior,” she said. “They are unpredictable, and in instances like this you cannot control that behavior or prevent it from happening if it is in a private home.”

I wonder if the chimp knew that its owner would start stabbing it with a kitchen knife. Third, the police apparently forgot how to lock their car door.

After the initial attack, Travis ran away and started roaming Herold’s property until police arrived, setting up security so medics could reach the critically injured woman, Conklin said.

But the chimpanzee returned and went after several of the officers, who retreated into their cars, Conklin said. Travis knocked the mirror off a cruiser before opening its door and starting to get in, trapping the officer.

That officer shot the chimpanzee several times, Conklin said.

Note the “setting up security” line. What exactly did that entail? Was it a perimeter around the victim? Trying to get the chimp to attack an officer instead? Whatever it means, the failure to lock the door and the broken mirror seem to setup a defensive picture. The officers try to provoke the animal and when it comes, they say they have no choice but to kill it.

This reminds me of the San Francisco Zoo Tiger where officers also retreated to their car. They then realized that they had left their window open and so unloaded eleven pistol rounds into the animal to stop it from coming inside. What if the window had been closed? What if the door was locked?

The wounded chimpanzee fled the scene, but Conklin said police were able to follow the trail of his blood: down the driveway, into the open door of the home, through the house and to his living quarters, where he had retreated and died of his wounds.

Sad story all around.

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