A Senseless Death

harambe_2897586aThe whole world is arguing on social media over the fate of Harambe the gorilla who was shot and killed when a four year old boy climbed into the gorilla enclosure and fell into the mote at the Cincinnati zoo this past weekend.

Many are arguing that the shooting of the 450 lb. captive gorilla was a drastic response, that Harambe’s death could have been avoided, and the situation resolved without killing the animal.

I will admit, when the story first broke I felt the same way. I was angry that the zoo had chosen to kill the gorilla rather than  opt to tranquilize it in order to rescue the child. I was angry that yet again, a parent’s negligence in looking after their child had caused the death of an innocent animal.

Then I watched the full video, and I realized, that I was wrong, zoo officials could have made no other choice. When faced with the decision to save a child’s life or shoot an animal, the life of a child, especially one so young will win out every time. There is no “Life of Pi” scenario where a four year old is involved.

I was wrong because I had failed to take all aspects of the situation into consideration. I should know better, I understand that animals do not think or respond to things the same way as humans do. However, as much as I love gorillas,  I fully admit I know nothing about them other than the obvious, they are large powerful animals that could rip a man apart if they chose to do so, and you probably shouldn’t test the theory.

While I might not know a thing about gorillas, I do know a thing or two about aggression in caged animals, and I can completely understand how an aggressive gorilla protecting it’s territory can put a life in danger When you watch the raw footage with full audio and hear the mother yelling, the child wailing, and the crowd screaming you realize that all the elements are in place for this situation to go very, very bad, very, very quickly.

Although some people may have interpreted the gorilla’s behavior as protective of the child, what they fail to take into consideration is the gorilla’s strength. Even if Harambe was attempting to protect the child in some way, (and I’d really like to believe that was the case) he could easily have killed the child while dragging him along behind. The only option in order to save the child, was to shoot the gorilla. I don’t like it, but facts are facts.

Many people are saying they should have tranquilized Harambe, but those people clearly don’t understand how a tranquilizer dart works, or they would understand why that wasn’t an option, and you and I would be discussing something else right now. A tranquilizer dart delivers an intramuscular injection dosage of tranquilizer when it hits it’s target. Intramuscular injections are not immediately effective as the drug must be absorbed into the blood stream in order to have an effect, and this takes time. The impact of a tranquilizer dart carrying a payload large enough to drop a 450 lb. gorilla is not light. Upon impact the animal will become more agitated and erratic in it’s behavior, thus putting the child in further danger.

While I dislike zoos immensely, the zoo is not totally to blame for Harambe’s death. They are charged with keeping zoo visitors and animals safe, and they failed at both jobs, but the blame is not theirs alone. The child’s parents failed as well. They failed to responsibly supervise their child, and their negligence almost caused his death.

How does a four year old stumble into a gorilla enclosure while visiting the zoo? Is it really that strange to expect that someone might actually be watching him, might stop him from climbing over a fence and falling into a pit full of wild animals? I used to think it was just common sense, but I guess sense isn’t that common anymore.

Harambe’s death was senseless, a thing that could have been avoided if only….if only that mother had have been watching her child…if only…

R.I.P Harambe, I am sorry humans failed you.

Until next time remember,