By Marisa Tilson
May 28th a four-year-old boy fell 10 to 12 feet into the gorilla exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo. The child had been picked up by a gorilla after his fall and had been dragged through the water inside of the enclosement and was later hospitalized. The zoo made the decision to shoot the gorilla because he was deemed a threat to the child’s safety.
A video has been released showing the child falling into the exhibit. The gorilla seems to have been protective of the boy, picking him up and pulling up his pants. The gorilla appeared to have been more startled by the screaming coming from everyone at the zoo than the child. When the gorilla was shot the boy was in between his legs and ten minutes had gone by.
The death of the Harambe the beloved gorilla has caused outrage and people are claiming that the zoo had no right to shoot him. It was reported that the injuries the boy had sustained were non life threatening and it was the parents fault for not paying attention to their child who managed to fall into the enclosement. So far no charges against have been made against the parent or the zoo. A police investigation is currently ongoing.
An online petition “Justice for Harambe” has earned more than 100,000 signatures in less than 48 hours. People want the child’s parents held responsible for his death and neglecting their son. “This beautiful gorilla lost his life because the boy’s parents did not keep a closer watch on the child,” the petition states.
Sarah Stogsdill believes that “The gorilla made no harm to the child’s safety. If the gorilla wanted the boy dead then he would’ve died but that’s not the case.” Many others have this point of view as well. The gorilla has been in the zoo for 17 years and never had a chance to have a family of his own. Gorillas normally carry their children the way the boy had been. “He was only following his natural instincts to take care of him. There were other options like tranquilizing him instead of shooting him.”
A mother who was at the zoo with her children states that “It’s a very traumatizing experience for anybody involved. The kids, the zookeepers, the other gorillas that now don’t have him there any more.”
This was the first time an incident like this has happened. Nobody was sure how to react and zoo keepers reacted to the best of their abilities and did what they thought was right. The Cincinnati Zoo has performed a necropsy on the gorilla, extracting and freezing the gorilla’s genetic material. No further information on him has been released.