Once upon a time there was an endangered gorilla named Harambe. He was born in a zoo in Texas. After 16 years at this zoo, he was transferred to a zoo in Cincinnati. The day after his 17th birthday, he heard a splash. A four year old human boy had landed in his moat in his enclosure.
Harambe interacted with the boy, almost as if he were a young ape. His hands could rip the boy in two at any moment he pleased. But no moment came. He stood over the boy in a protective stance. But no stance protected him from the gunshot. The boy was returned to his mommy and sent to the hospital with no critical injuries. And thus, an endangered species became even more endangered by the most dangerous species on the planet.
The main question is who is to blame? The gorilla or the mom? The gorilla acted upon natural instincts by interacting with the boy. And the mom of the boy was dumb enough to let her young child fall into a zoo exhibit. It’s a tragedy for both.
The gorilla was shot and killed in an attempt to save a young boy’s life. While I do not know if this was the best decision, I do think it was a safe one. According to ABC News “ "Gorillas are self-aware. They love, laugh, sing, play, and grieve. Western lowland gorillas are gentle animals. They don’t attack unless they’re provoked," PETA said in its statement.” Sure the young boy was not in any harm at the moment of the killing, but what if someone went to approach him to retrieve the boy?
The gorilla could have felt threatened and attacked. The Cincinnati Zoo made a decision that was hard for them as well. According to ABC news, “ "We lost an incredible, magnificent animal," Maynard said.” Thane Maynard is the zoo’s director and is incredibly saddened by this loss as well.
The mother of the young boy luckily has time to learn what can happen in a matter of seconds if you are not paying attention to your children. Children are quick to act and irrational thinkers. They do not understand the possible dangers in the world around them. They act upon instinct and do what they see will be the most fun.
This child decided that to get a better look at a beautiful endangered species he needed to climb up on a three foot high barrier. The child lost his balance and fell fifteen feet down into about eighteen inches of water. Besides being incredibly strong this child was also incredibly child like. He saw no harm in trying to see an animal at a zoo better.It is not my place to say who is to blame for this tragic incident. I know many people are quick to judge when it comes to something like this happening. It’s hard to imagine what you would do in this situation either as the zoo’s director, or the mother of the young boy. But, before you judge others for their actions think about both sides of the story.