Saturday, March 12, 2011

What is Jo Mendi II thinking?

This is my favorite photo from my family's collection... Jo Mendi II was captured from the wild in Africa, I believe, and ended up as the star of the Detroit Zoo chimp show when dad was a trainer there in the 1950s.

In his human overalls, in the shadows of the caged training enclosure, Jo seems to pondering his fate. Did he remember Africa? Did he remember being torn from his mother, as most baby chimpanzees were (and many still are)?

What do you think Jo Mendi II was thinking?? 

Jo Mendi II, 1950
See Detroit Zoo chimps for more about Jo and the others.


  1. What a fabulous photo. I am more familiar with thinking in orangutans than chimpanzees and can say that orangutans are quite thoughtful, spending time to think out an action before they act. People often underestimate the thinking ability of apes.

    Shawn Thompson

  2. Do you have any information or photos regarding the Detroit Zoo elephants of this time period? I have been doing some research regarding the elephants and elephant show and would appreciate any help you can offer. Thank you!