I’ve mentioned (like, a couple hundred times) that one of dad’s favorite chimps from the 1940s and ‘50s was Jo Mendi II, named after Detroit Zoo’s money-making trend-setting FIRST Jo Mendi chimpanzee. Well. Just shows you’re never too old to learn new facts. Come to find out, there was a Jo Mendi before the Detroit Zoo’s first Jo Mendi! The zoo’s first Jo Mendi was actually the second Jo, and Jo II (who dad trained) was actually Jo III. And Jo Mendi 3 (1979-2005) is actually the fourth. (The Detroit Zoo really liked the name Jo Mendi – thus we have multiple generations of Detroiters who all think they saw “Jo Mendi.” And, in a way, they did, in the sense that they saw a smart chimp in costume, doing zany tricks and being exploited by the zoo.)
|Jo Mendi II/III is in the center. Dad is the chimp trainer on the right.|
Many, many thanks to Ed for bringing these facts to light. I can’t help but think that these facts about yet another Jo Mendi further illustrates the cynical exploitation that is our shameful history of chimpanzees in the United States. That exploitation is a fact. Perhaps, though, with the upcoming U.S. Fish and Wildlife decision about chimpanzee endangered species status in the U.S., that fact will soon become history.