Now from the title of this little blog, you might think I’m going to talk about politicians, but no, it’s a real monkey and its deadly shenanigans that’s got my panties in a wad. One 15-year old, 200-pound chimpanzee named Travis, who lived with 70-year old Sandra Herold as, it is said, a member of the family.
Note the past tense. Travis was shot to death by Stamford, Connecticut police after he attacked and came close to killing a friend who’d come visiting.
Though so many heads are shaking in disbelief you could power enough electricity-generating windmills to light all the homes in a stereotypical small city, the unfortunate truth is that Travis was only doing what chimpanzees do. It was the Disneyesque perceptions of the humans who held him in captivity, greedily using him in television commercials before he was retired to live with old Ms. Herold that is the root cause of this horrible tragedy.
A wild animal may become habituated to humans and some, I dare say, even love the hands that feed them, but Nature’s love remains a wild-at-heart love and the bond of trust that exists is therefore a very fragile thing. So fragile that more often than not the human is totally unaware of its boundaries, but even the tamest wild animal never forgets them and when Nature’s terms are breached, life defaults to Nature’s ways, leaving the clever but naturally defenseless human in tatters. Of course the clever human continues to try to trump Nature, “blaming” the animal who must then suffer the ultimate penalty.
Certainly I feel sorry for Charla Nash, the friend who found herself on the receiving end of a chimpanzee’s angry outburst, but the truth is I feel far sorrier for Travis. No wild animal asks to be held captive, no wild animal sets their sights on living their life as nothing more than a slave to a human’s overinflated ego.
Ms. Herold and all the others like her – from Siegried & Roy to Lu Ann Best & her Twiggy the waterskiing squirrel, as well as every roadside “attraction” and circus – those who think wild animals are exploitable commodities or “pets” are idiots, plain and simple.