A 17-year-old gorilla is sitting peacefully in his exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo. Just another day for Harambe when suddenly a four-year-old child plummets into Harambe's home.
Ten minutes later, Harambe is shot dead.
Another few minutes later, everyone with a Twitter, Facebook or Instagram is sharing their opinion on the incident. Many are spreading criticism of the zoo, saying that Harambe should not have been murdered, that there should have been something else done to save both the life of the child and that of the endangered gorilla.
I agree that Harambe's death is nothing short of tragic and that the mother should have been better at supervising her child. However, if the zoo did not shoot Harambe and the child had been badly injured or even killed, they would have faced criticism from the public as well. Many people, like myself, thought that a tranquilizer would have been the perfect solution to not killing Harambe and protecting the child. But as the story developed and animal experts and zoo officials appeared on the news, it became known that due to the large size of the animal, the tranquilizer would have taken too long to put Harambe to sleep. In this time, he could have harmed the child. He also could have fallen into the water in his exhibit and drowned.
From this tragedy, we need to take something positive. The reason so many people are upset is because they realize animal lives do matter. The death of an innocent and endangered animal is not something to pass over. Harambe's death highlights how compassionate people are about animals that do not have a voice of their own.
This incident needs to serve as a gateway for people taking more responsibility in learning what happens to animals. Whether it be the way cows are killed for human consumption, how animals are treated in the circus or how dogs are slaughtered in Yulin. The poor treatment of animals is something everyone knows exists, but don't want to talk about because it is too sad to really think about. The only time mistreatment of animals receives national attention is in cases of Harambe's, where we realize that it was not his fault that the boy fell into his home, yet he is the one murdered.
Granted the zoo was stuck in a difficult situation and had to act quickly to save the child's life. However, it does not make Harambe's death any less tragic. We must all remember the feelings of sadness and anger over the loss of his life, and project these emotions towards helping save the lives of other animals.
Organizations like the Humane Society and PETA are constantly sharing articles and stories about the mistreatment and tragic deaths of animals. Following these organizations on social media is a great first step in opening your eyes to the hundreds of ways animals need our help.
Harambe's death should inspire us all to take a stand towards bettering the lives of our four legged companions.