There has been a great debate about the death of Cincinnati Zoo’s Silverback Gorilla, Harambe. A three-year old child fell into the enclosure of 17-year-old Harambe, an endangered western lowland gorilla, on Saturday.
Video footage showed the boy being dragged through shallow water by the animal. Zookeepers shot Harambe soon afterwards. The zoo on Monday defended its actions, saying it had no choice but to shoot the gorilla as tranquilizers would not have worked in time to save the boy.
It also said its Gorilla World exhibit was safe and exceeded required protocols. But Michael Budkie, of Stop Animal Exploitation Now, said the USDA should fine the zoo for having an exhibit that the public could access.
“What happened this weekend made it very clear that the physical barriers at the Cincinnati Zoo are not adequate to keep people out of the enclosures, obviously,” he said, adding that the enclosure was reported to be over 30 years old. He also said the zoo had been criticized back in March after two polar bears were able to wander out of their pen into a service hallway.
This was a tough situation in which multiple people are being blamed. On one hand you have the endangered gorilla, on the other you have a little boy. Some people think the gorilla should not have been shot and maybe there was a better option, but do animal lives really take precedent over someone’s child?
The mother of course is a fault for letting her son get into that kind of situation in the first place, but it does not give a pass for cyber bullies to threaten and harass her, even suggesting she get fired from her job. I have personally supervised kids that age on a zoo summer camp trip, and it’s not a cake walk. Usually with kids that age it’s best to avoid the headache and throw them in a wagon. It makes everything just a little bit less stressful. No chasing, no calling, no leashes (yeah, sad I know), just “we’re heading to the elephant exhibit now, let’s roll.” (Kid)”But I wanna stay with the gorillas!!!” (Parent)“Nope! Too bad”.
So, do #AnimalLivesMatter? Yes they do, and yes, that is a real hashtag, but I would say it is a little callous to believe that a young child’s life is worth less than a gorilla, especially when the #BlackLivesMatter campaign is just tossed under the rug. Animals are living beings with emotional capabilities, so yes, they deserve to be treated with kindness, but in the end they are animals. It’s kind of hard to talk down a 400 pound gorilla, and sometimes there isn’t an easy decision.
At the end of the day, the mother of that three-year old is not the one killing the endangered gorillas. It is the big corporations pushing the gorillas and other wildlife out of their natural habitat everyday. They are the ones that get a blind eye turned to them. No one cares when they slowly kill hundreds of wildlife that may never come back. America is sensationalized. Find the real source, and tell them how #AnimalLivesMatter. Make them accountable. Then, it can really matter.