National Geographic : 1940 Aug
Man's Closest Counterparts lived in Washington for about 24 years. He was purchased from a dealer in 1915 when four or five years old and 38 pounds in weight. When he was 17 years old,he weighed 130 pounds, and gained little if any after that. Like many other young captive chimps, Soko dined sitting in a high chair at a table and his manners were very good indeed. After one attempt to pour a pint of milk into a half-pint glass, he saw his mistake and never again let his glass overflow. He enjoyed riding a bicycle, played at rak ing up leaves, and pushed baby carriages, though he had to be watched when he noticed a nursing bottle in the carriage. He longed to get hold of it. Eventually Soko smashed up his table furniture and reverted somewhat to the primi tive. The custom of taking walks with him through the park in the summer had to be dis continued, because he developed strong dis likes toward certain visitors and would Photograph by Maynard Owen Williams Sumatra's Bewhiskered Movie Actor Welcomes Travelers This tame orangutan has appeared in several Hollywood films made in the Far East. He is a privileged guest at the Medan Zoo, clearing house for wild animals captured in the Sumatra jungles. Young orangutans often are kept as pets on the island plantations, roaming about the houses at will and eating meals at their own tables (page 232). charge viciously at them, dragging his keeper behind him. In his old age he became more and more of a recluse so far as his keepers were con cerned and would recognize only a few of them. He would make a loud buzzing noise to attract the attention of the nearest keeper or guard and would point at the faucet when he was thirsty. Once Soko was bothered by an aching tooth and it was pulled by our head keeper, W. H. Blackburne. Several months afterward, the chimpanzee made his characteristic buzzing sound to attract Mr. Blackburne's attention, pointed to another tooth which was troubling him, and patiently held his mouth open for it to be extracted. Sometimes he would stretch out his foot and spread the toes to show his keeper that his nails needed trimming. Throwing Things a Favorite Sport Often Soko would show his dislike of cer tain visitors by going into a tremendous tan trum, running up and down the floor of his cage, beating the bars with his elbows (which developed large calloused spots) and with his wrists. Finally with a lightninglike gesture he would fling at the visitor a handful of saw dust or whatever he had in the bottom of his cage. Plate glass in that case was a useful protection.