Clever Kakowet the bonobo impressed everyone with his extraordinary intelligence.
  • 1960s
  • 1980s

Most people know primates are intelligent. But Kakowet’s clever mind was legendary. Even as a youngster, he had an ability to outsmart his keepers. When he first arrived, the staff carried him around because he didn’t seem to be able to walk well. One day, a keeper caught Kakowet not only walking—but climbing out of his enclosure! She watched him raid a nearby fruit bush and carry his treasure home in his mouth and under his armpits.

Although his cleverness made his keepers work extra hard, it sometimes helped them out. Whenever Kakowet spotted the Zoo director—even off in the distance—he would start hooting and “dancing” in a special way. When the employees heard Kakowet’s call, they knew to get busy so the boss would find them working.

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