Last week, the world experienced the tragic loss of three beautiful animals whose lives were consequently ended due entirely to human error. Three animals who should have never been in captivity in the first place. Three animals confined to cages for human entertainment. Three animals we will mourn. Three animals whose deaths we must learn from.
We cannot allow their lives to mean nothing. We owe it to them, after all. It's the least we can do.
On May 21, a Chilean man jumped into the lion's enclosure of the Santiago Metropolitan Zoo in an explicit suicide attempt. Due to a rigged protocol aimed at protecting human life, the zoo staff was forced to kill two of its three lions.
Just a week later, on May 28, a 17-year old Western Lowland Gorilla endearingly named Harambe was shot dead after a three-year-old boy plunged into the gorilla enclosure due to his own curiosity about the animals.
All three animals were beloved. All three animals were killed without hesitation. All three animals deserved life, but because of humankind's skewed value system-- a system that places humans well above any other species on the hierarchy, their lives were tragically and abruptly ended.
The death of the two lions and Harambe need to be a reminder to mankind that our lives are not the only lives that matter. We have to share this planet with plants and animals -- it is not ours alone. It is not ours to defile, pillage, destroy, and kill. We do not have that right, yet we act as if the world is ours for the taking. We act as if everything that grows and roams this earth is their for our benefit, and our benefit only.
What we cease to grasp is that these animals have lives of their own. They don't exist to be cosmetically tested on. They do not exist to be viewed through cages. They do not exist for human entertainment. They do not exist to be consumed. They do not exist to be decorative pieces in someone's living room.
Just like you and I, they deserve life. This is their earth, too.
We must learn to coexist with each other, or the world will stand to suffer, animal species will become extinct, and forests will diminish.
We cannot allow that to happen. We shall not allow that to happen.
Mankind must lay down its sense of superiority and acknowledge life beyond its own species. We must be held accountable for our actions. We can no longer place the blame on animals, because vilifying these magnificent creatures is simply a grave detriment to earth.
The death of the Chilean lions and of Harambe are stories of suicide, or of a mother's negligence to her child. It isn't a story about a hopeless man or of a curious child. It's of a story we rarely acknowledge.
Their story is of mankind's selfish nature, of our complete inability to coexist with our fellow cohabitants. It's of mankind's long-held belief that we are the only species deserving of life, the only ones deserving of happiness.
We are not.
Let the Chilean lions and Harambe be a lesson to us that are we are not alone in this world. Let's instill compassion in the next generation. Let's stop viewing animals as objects meant to tirelessly be used for our every fulfillment and pleasure.
They deserve better. The earth deserves better.
Rest in peace, Harambe.