Jane Goodall Sends A Remorseful Message To The Cincinnati Zoo Over The Death Of Harambe

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The death of Harambe the gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo has had everybody talking over the long holiday weekend and beyond. Video of the great ape dragging the 4-year-old boy around its enclosure shocked many online, and the zoo’s decision to kill Harambe angered many more. Experts have spoken out on the incident, including famous animal handler Jack Hanna, who agreed ‘1,000 percent’ with the decision to kill the gorilla.

The aftermath of the event is still playing out in the media, particularly with the parents of the child who fell into the gorilla enclosure. But for others, like Jane Goodall, the real concern is back at the zoo with the other gorillas. Goodall wrote a very touching, sad letter to Thayne Maynard at the Cincinnati Zoo that seems to show just how many difficult layers there are to the incident:

“I feel so sorry for you, having to defend something which you may well disapprove of…

“I tried to see exactly what was happening — it looked as though the gorilla was putting an arm around the child — like the female who rescued and returned the child from the Chicago exhibit…

“Anyway, whatever, it is a devastating loss to the zoo, and to the gorillas…How did the others react? Are they allowed to see, and express grief, which seems to be so important. Feeling for you, Jane.”

As the Washington Post notes, the incident Goodall is referring to happened at the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois 20 years ago and played out very similarly to the events in Cincinnati, only with a different ending:

In summer 1996, a rambunctious 3-year-old boy slipped away from his mother and squeezed through a barrier at the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois, plummeting more than 15 feet into a pit holding several gorillas. One of them scooped up the toddler, cradled him, carried him to paramedics — and gained international fame.

You can see video of that incident below and compare it yourself. Just don’t try to condemn the Cincinnati Zoo for their decision.

(Via Washington Post)