The residents of a primate research facility in Des Moines are learning you shouldn’t monkey around with fire alarms. Firefighting crews were dispatched to the Great Ape Trust of Iowa on Friday after one of the bonobos yanked a wall-mounted fire alarm.
The Fire Department’s Brian O’Keefe says he can now say he’s seen almost everything. “We get burglar alarms that are set off by dogs and cats running around the house but this is the first in the history of Des Moines Fire where we actually had an animal or primate go over there and pull the pull-station.”
O’Keefe says he inspected the facility before it opened in 2004. He says “I personally tested the alarm system in that space and between having the bonobos and the staff in there, they felt they could control the animals and it wouldn’t be an issue.” O’Keefe says the two-year-old Trust will not be fined for the great ape’s false fire alarm and he’s asking the staff to educate the occupants about the seriousness of their actions.
O’Keefe says “They’re very confident in their abilities to work with those animals. We will suggest they put a cover that we have for where there’s children around. This time, we’ll let it go and ask that they monitor (the apes’) activities.” The facility is home to a number of apes, including bonobos and orangutans.