The tragic incident with the death of beloved gorilla on May 28, 2016, was an unjustified act, that should have been dealt with differently so that the life of the child and the life of the gorilla were saved.
Despite the event happening months ago, the question still remains, was the killing of Harambe justified?
In the late spring of 2016, an unsupervised three year old child fell into the gorilla habitat due to the incredible irresponsibility of the mother. Contrary to popular belief, once that child fell into the pit, both the child and the gorilla’s lives were in danger. The majestic silverback gorilla, Harambe, walked over to the child, proceeding with caution. Harambe was not showing any intentional behavioral signs of harming the child as analyzed by ethologists. It looked as if it were trying to protect him based on the footage. However, many other people think differently. The gorilla saw that the the three year old was a child and not a threat to him or his tribe. After Harambe dragged the boy through the moat, the public thought that Harambe was starting to get agitated; which would put the boy’s life in even more risk; that's when they decided to shoot and kill him.
Understandably, a gorilla’s life is not equal to the life of a person. But these animals are endangered. The enclosure should have been better protected to prevent smaller children from falling into it. Most zoos these days have put in moats in most enclosures because certain animals don't like water as much as others. The Cincinnati zoo followed this regulation. However, many newer zoos also have fences before the moat to ensure the well being of visitors. This is a relatively new idea that the zoo had yet to put in. The only thing dividing zoo goers and the animals was the one standard fence that was meant to prevent anybody from going into the habitat. “The Fence that was in between zoo goers and the gorilla enclosure was not adequate. Because they are meant to stop children, who are unsupervised, from falling into the enclosure. I think of this incident as a huge tragedy because these animals happened to be endangered. It was an unnecessary action to kill the gorilla," Michael Lazaroff, Animal Behavior teacher, said.
Rather than killing the endangered animal alternative actions such as using a tranquilizer dart should have been the number one solution, in order to incapacitate the animal and rescue the child.
Many, still mourning, staples students think that the killing was wrongful and that they should have tried a tranquilizer gun. “The zoo should have tranquilized Harambe instead of killing him. If he reacted terribly to the dart and started to become more aggressive towards the kid, then you have a ready sharpshooter kill it,” Mathew Bidgood, a dedicated lacrosse player, said. This is a very popular opinion that I certainly agree with. The zoo should have made more of an effort to save both the child and the 17 year old gorilla. Typically silverback gorillas will live up to 35 - 40 years; Harambe’s life was cut short.
However, the decision to pull the trigger on Harambe was inevitable because the life of the child was worth more: time was of the essence.
The mother of the child should have been more responsible and attentive to the young child. Reporters say that she had three other children to look after, but she is not the first mom to visit the zoo with a handful of children; her irresponsibility is what got Harambe killed.
Both the Cincinnati zoo's safety regulations and procedures were looked at after the incident. The zoo is supposed to ensure that the enclosures have the correct safety regulations so that accidents such as this one do not occur. “The barriers are safe and exceed any protocols, however, some people are able to get passed it.” said Thane Maynard, director of the zoo. Although, if the barriers were to meet and especially if they exceed zoo regulations than no person or child should be able to get passed them.
Harambe will be missed. There are some optimistic students out there who would like to see Harambe legend live on. Spencer Brockman, race car driver, says that the zoo should name the new baby gorilla, Harambe, to continue the legacy.