Let My People Go…

Okay, I went and looked up the story that I referenced earlier on the zoo animals, except it was an Orangutan named Fu Manchu at the Omaha, Nebraska zoo that made the great escape.  (with apologies to Orangutans everywhere. Haha.)  It’s just sooo compelling that I had to come back and share it.

I tried to find it on the National Geographic Kids website, but alas, it was not there.

Story here:

Fu lived at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska.  And he used his skills, for one purpose–to escape!  “It was a game to him,” says zoo director Lee Simmons.  “He never went anywhere.  But he’d let everybody else out and we’d have orangs all over the zoo.

The first time he did it, head keeper Jerry Stones blamed his staff for leaving a door unlocked.  By the third time, Stones threatened to fire someone.

Luckily, before he did, Stones caught Fu in the act.  Like a burglar breaking into a house, Fu was slipping a piece of wire under the latch and unhooking it!

Stones confiscated the wire.  And he ordered his staff never to let the orangutans go outside without first checking their yard for trash such as sires.  The keeper thought he had the problem solved.

But two weeks later, Stones noticed something metallic between Fu’s lips.  He told the ape to open his mouth, stuck in his finger, and guess what he found?  It was a piece of wire—bent at both ends to fit around Fu’s gums.  “All the work we were doing, searching and tearing things apart, wasn’t doing any good,” says Stones.  “Fu had made his own key.  And he was hiding it in his mouth!”


I have nothing to add–except that it’s pretty sad that some will think this is a cute story instead of a sad one that illustrates we have a ways to go in treating animals compassionately.

I feel the same way about the marine worlds.  And yes, I used to go to them, as well.  I now look at the pictures I have of the dolphins’ magnificent jumps with guilt and sadness. A pretty blunt article here.   I have read of dolphins purposely drowning themselves in captivity.

Let’s not forget the tragedy associated with Tillikum, one of the whales that killed his Indiana native trainer.


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