Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Gorilla Pays Price for Human Mistake

On Saturday a male gorilla named Harambe caged in a Cincinnati, Ohio zoo for human amusement, was shot to death after a human child crawled beyond a barrier and fell twelve feet into the moat surround his enclosure. Cincinnati police are investigating the incident.  Harambe, a seventeen year old male [photo], found the four year old child and apparently in an attempt to play with the young primate dragged the boy through the moat. He also handled the boy carefully at times. Zoo officials who said his life was in danger, killed the gorilla in order to rescue the boy. Harambe, a healthy lowland gorilla silver back, was a rare and endangered animal. He was observed holding the young boy's hand and guarding him before he was gunned down by sharpshooters. Two female gorillas responded to calls to leave the boy alone, but Harambe grabbed the human visitor, stood him up, and even pulled up his pants [video]. He did not appear to attack the child.  The human parent has not yet been charged with a crime, although the care of her toddler in this instance certainly seems to be lacking.

Public pressure is mounting against the mother. A hundred thousand people have signed a petition asking that she be investigated for negligence and held accountable for her lack of care. According to witnesses she was accompanied by several children, and her youngster repeatedly told her he wanted to play with the gorillas.  So far her explanation of what happen is a laconic cliche, "accidents happen".  But not all human stunts result in the death of an endangered gorilla captive.  Jerry Stones, Harambe's keeper, said his charge was "very, very intelligent". He is heartbroken over the incident. The zoo director defended his decision to kill, saying a tranquilizer would not have acted fast enough to prevent possible injury to the child, noting that the "agitated" gorilla was extremely strong, but he admitted Harambe did not appear to attack the boy. No human entered the enclosure in an attempt to coax the gorilla away from the boy, or coax the boy away from the gorilla. Professional loud-mouth, Donald Trump, contributed his two-cents online by texting the decision to use lethal force against Harambe was a "tough call", but necessary.  The boy is expected to recover from his fall and fatal encounter with Harambe.  The zoo has over a million visitors a year and was back in full operation Sunday.