Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chimp sighting in Cancun

We went to Cancun yesterday. As we were driving along one of the three-lane roads, on the inside track, I spotted something odd in the truck in the outside lane. There were vehicles between us but I had to take a second look as gaps in the traffic permitted.

What I saw was a big surprise. A pickup truck with the passenger window open wide, and a large chimp sitting on the edge of the door, with most of his body hanging out the window.

The truck was going in the same direction as us so we got glimpses of the chimp as we drove along. The chimp was relaxed and taking in all the scenery. I saw that he was holding onto the side mirror with his foot.

The expression on the chimp's face was quite 'human' - which led to discussion of our ancestry. Was Charles Darwin right? And if so, how do Adam and Eve fit into the picture?

Of course, none of us have the answer. Sometimes we think the animals might be the ones with the answers - the intelligence we see in their eyes says that they would have much to tell, if only we could understand their language.


KfromMichigan said...

I have seen this chimp in Cancun for several years. I often wonder if it is the same one or there are a couple of them?!! Always in a truck.

Life's a Beach! said...

LOL! They are very humanlike, and how Adam and Eve gel with Darwin is something I've always been conflicted about. When I was growing up, a woman in our small town had a monkey. She'd sit in her porch swing with it. Looking back on it, it seems so bizarre for a woman in a little town in Kansas to have a pet monkey!

Sue said...

K - that is so strange - all the times we've gone to Cancun and this was our first sighting!

Beck - now that you mention it, it is odd for someone in a small town to have a pet monkey. Must be a story behind that!

Mel said...

The chimp is Koko and the owner is Joseph. There are a few stories behind it but I choose to believe the one I see right in front of me rather than the gossip in the media. From what Joseph told me, Koko was born in captivity in Florida and she had already been sold to a research lab when he recued her. She was about a year old when Joseph got her (now 25 years old)..he had to pay what the lab paid plus another HUGE chunk of money on top of it to cover the fee of her not being delivered to the research lab. He told me all he wanted to do was give her a better life and I completely believe that because not only can you see the look of a proud father when he is with her, but she seems very content and happy. He never pushes her to do something if she doesn't want to, when it rains, he lets her go back into the van, when it's hot, he lets her sit in the shade and when she has a temper tantrum, he lets her express herself and he's never harsh with her. She's very good at making you understand what she wants and you can tell how spoiled she is. And lets not forget that he's had her for 24 years, she apparently NEVER lives in a cage, she has her own dog who she trained to a point and he is very well-known and is checked on (unannounced) on a regular basis. He is also registered with the government(I looked it up)and if she was actually being mis-treated or "regularily beaten," she would at the very least, show fear towards him but she's like a little kid and makes him understand when she doesn't want to do something and he never pushes it. He also has a degree in zoology.

So back to the story. He tours around Cancun letting people take pictures with her. He charges $10 for 4 photos and this is how he makes his living and supports the other chimps he has at home. I ended up finding all of this out because I ran into him and my 10 year old daughter spent a good 6 hours just playing with Koko (which I paid him for). Koko is very gentle and they spent the hours having tickle fights, playing tag and whatever else Koko decided she wanted to do while we looked on and giggled about how they're best friends. In her downtime, she'd just lay in my daughter's lap and relax while she got her back scratched. If Koko wanted to go anywhere more than a foot away from my daughter, she'd grab her hand and make her go too (she even pulled my daughter in out of the rain). When they were walking and my daughter stopped, Koko would motion for her to follow and if that didn't work, she walked back, took my daughter's hand and pulled her along. She was at her happiest when she was making my daughter laugh and searching for her most ticklish spots. She even pinned my daughter down at one point (gently), lifed her arm and started chewing on her armpit. The more she squealed and laughed, the more excited Koko got and the more she tried to keep doing things to make her laugh. All in all it was an experience of a lifetime and not only is Koko sweet, but Joseph is a VERY nice man and he loves his "kids" to no end.