Zoo causes public outcries
The death of the 17-year-old endangered gorilla known as Harambe has caused much outrage throughout the nation. On May 28, 2016, Harambe was shot dead by Cincinnati Zoo officials because a 4-year-old boy had fallen into the gorilla pit. It was observed that Harambe might have been physically interacting with the boy, which caused panic among the zoo officials. People soon began to wonder whether killing Harambe was appropriate, or whether it was the only option in handling the predicament.
Since Harambe was born and raised in the zoo’s sanctuary, questions were raised as to whether or not he was dangerous enough to be killed instantly. Gorillas are portrayed as extremely aggressive and violent animals in the media through movies and video games. However, it has been proven that they only behave in such a manner when they feel threatened, and are actually quite peaceful in socializing when given special handling.
Their non-violent side has been shown in previous cases, like the female gorilla named Binti Jua, who was in a similar situation as Harambe. In 1996, a young boy slipped away from his mother and had climbed his way into the gorilla pit in Brookfield Zoo. The child fell nearly 20 feet and remained on the ground as if lifeless. Binti Jua cradled the little child while carrying her own offspring on her back. She became a national hero.
On the contrary, Harambe is a male gorilla that dragged the child around in the water multiple times. Despite all of this, the incident still raises questions as to whether the boy’s life was truly in fatal danger. Those in favor of the killing agree that a tranquilizer would have taken too long to put down the gorilla, and have the child safely removed from his presence.
Professor Gisela Kaplan, an animal behavior expert, claims that the boy was in no danger. She protests that since the gorilla did not beat his chest, a warning sign for young gorillas to back off, he knew that the boy was defenseless. Nonetheless, the zoo officials still feared for the child’s life, and proceeded in killing him whether they knew this or not.
Many people believe the mother should be held responsible for the entire incident and punished because of parental negligence. Others insist it is the zoo’s fault, since they have been cited twice recently for safety issues.
The mother should be held accountable for improperly supervising her child. Officials stated that the zoo barriers passed all prior safety inspections., with the zoo officials claiming that “More than 43 million people had visited the exhibit without an incident in the 38 years since it opened.” It is the mother’s duty to ensure that her child does not go in harm’s way and put him or herself at risk. If she had not been negligent in watching her child, the zoo officials would not have had to make such a drastic choice, which led to a lot of preventable controversy and uproar.
Despite the many concerns, it is definite that what happened to Harambe had hurt many people and there will be actions made to ensure something like this does not happen to any more animals, especially those that are nearing serious threats of extinction.