Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Travis the Chimp Went on a Rampage

Travis the chimpanzee, who starred in commercials for both Old Navy and Coca-Cola, attacked and mauled a neighbour in Stamford, Connecticut on Monday. In the end Travis had to be shot to end his rampage. He was fourteen years old.

The rampage began when Travis took his human companion's keys from the kitchen table, unlocked a door, and let himself out. He started going to different cars and tapping on the window, the signal that he wanted to go to the ride. His human companion tried to get him to come back into the house, and even dosed him with tea laced with Xanax. Even then, however, he would not go back into the house. Travis' human companion then called her 55 year old neighbour, who came over. As soon as she got out of her car, Travis attacked her. The attack was so brutal that his human companion even stabbed him with a butcher knife, after calling 911, in an attempt to end the attack on the neighbour. In the end he had ripped away most of the neighbour's face and broke several bones.

It was when paramedics and police officers arrived that Travis took off. He later returned to attack a police officer within his car. The officer shot Travis several times, after which he fled into the woods. He was later found dead there.

The reasons for Travis's attack upon his neighbour are unclear. He was being treated for Lyme disease, which can cause severe anxiety, delusions, and psychoses in rare cases. Police also theorised that the Xanax could have even played a role in the attack. Here it should also be pointed out that chimpanzees in captivity have been known to display aggression towards humans. It is not unusual for chimpanzees to attack people in many instances. That having been said, Travis had no history of violence.

It is disheartening to know that Travis the chimpanzee attacked a neighbour with such violence that she had to be placed in hospital. It is also disheartening to know that his behaviour ultimately resulted in his death. It is all the sadder because Travis was somewhat familiar to many as the star of commercials. That having been said, it must be kept in mind that Travis as a chimpanzee, a species not known for their docility but somewhat well known for their aggressive tendencies. The Lyme disease from which Travis suffered probably did not help. As cute and funny as chimps might seem on television and in movies, ultimately they are still members of their species who will behave as such.


Xondor said...

The human branch of Darwin's tree of life hasn't evolved much. At least humans don't throw their feces... unless it's at a real wild Alice Cooper type party.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that keeping a animal, human-sized but with 2 to 3 times human strength, is just basically a bad idea.