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Buck Wolf

Travis the Chimp and Bobby Valentine

By February 24, 2009

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Some final thoughts on Travis, the chimpanzee shot dead by Connecticut police, after he went on a rampage, mauling a neighbor, practically ripping off her face. Travis the Chimp in an Old Navy Ad

The woman, 55-year-old Charla Nash, remains under sedation at Ohio's Cleveland Clinic, where, two months ago, doctors performed the first face transplant.

It's fairly safe to say that the town of Stamford will soon have laws in place that will render it illegal to keep a 200-lb. chimpanzee -- an animal with six times the strength of an average human -- as a pet.

The truth is, we'll never know what caused this 14-year-old simian to go off kilter, and like any criminal, he'll be remembered for his bad behavior, even if that represents just a few seconds out of his life.

Still, Travis shows us just how human a chimp can be. Even his bizarre relationship with 70-year-old Sandra Herold -- a woman who ate, slept, and bathed with her animal companion -- had a human-like dysfunctional quality.

'He Couldn't Have been More My Son'

Travis “couldn’t have been more my son than if I gave birth to him,” Herold told reporters, detailing how she and her primate companion drank wine from fine stemware, and, on occasion, feasted on fine steak and lobster tails.

The ape dressed himself, brushed with a Waterpik, -- and, despite frequently wearing what looks like oversized Depends diapers -- used the toilet. Bobby Valentine as a Met

Travis rooted for the Mets, and could appreciate that Stamford native Bobby Valentine managed the team. And when the Mets dumped Valentine, Travis switched to the Yankees.

If he could form such associations with neighbors like Valentine, we can only imagine how close he was with his owner, and while she describes it as mother-child, the details make it seem like something more.

There's also speculation that drugs had something to do with the incident. Herold reportedly gave Travis tea laced with Xanax -- and there is speculation, however unproven, that this influenced his mood. Met Manager Bobby Valentine

Ultimately, we're left with questions, not answers. And this excellent article in the New York Times sums that up.

Chimps and humans have DNA that's 96 percent identical. But I'm pretty sure it's not the part that's different that caused him to rampage. It's the part that's the same.

If you've ever seen Bobby V. yelling at an ump, you know what I mean.

Related: Man vs. Beast: Weird Animal News

Photo © Jamie Squire/Getty Images(Middle, Top) Banana Republic (Top)

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