The weekend saw some unfortunate developments at the Cincinnati zoo where a 4-year-old child somehow landed in the gorilla enclosure, which resulted in a terrifying video and one dead 400-pound animal. Harambe the Gorilla appeared to be enjoying his day before the child suddenly materialized in his pen. He dragged the boy through the water while onlookers screamed. Zookeepers made the choice to put the creature down instead of relying upon too-slow tranquilizer darts, and the attraction’s employees were said to be very upset over the loss of the animal.
Social media clips showed the 17-year-old silverback gorilla observing the child, who did not appear to be injured through any actions of the animal (though possibly by his fall). In fact, experts can’t seem to agree whether the young boy was truly in danger during his time in Harambe’s pen. An extended video with a different angle appears to show Harambe wrapping his arms protectively around the child, who appears calm next to the gorilla.
However, Jack Hanna told Good Morning America that Harambe was very powerful, and the zoo’s decision was justified:
“I’ve seen him take a green coconut, which you can’t bust open with a sledgehammer and squish it like this. You’re dealing with either human life or animal life here. So what is the decision? I think it’s very simple to figure that out.”
The internet does not agree with Hanna. Outrage over Harambe’s death shows that people think the zoo acted too quickly, and folks would like to know exactly how a child tumbles unattended into a gorilla pen. Twitter piled onto Amber Zoler, who captured one of the initial videos, but insisted, “This is not my child.” A Change.org petition places blame upon the child’s mother, as does a #Justice4Harambe Facebook page. Folks are outraged over the death of a rare animal, who lived his life in a zoo for human entertainment.
A vigil for Harambe will take place on Monday. On social media, reactions are almost unanimous with most users wondering why the gorilla paid for this incident with his life.
Harambe recently celebrated his 17th birthday, which was to be his last, at the Cincinnati zoo. Whether or not justice is possible in this case remains to be seen, but this is surely one sad situation.