The recent shooting and killing of Cincinnati Zoo’s much-loved and endangered gorilla named Harambe after a child somehow made his way into the enclosure has many questioning the actions of the zoo keepers. But famed television personality and zookeeper Jack Hanna has now made a statement in solidarity with the zoo’s actions saying they did the right thing and the boy may have been in great danger. The 3 year old boy is said to have gone under railing and wires, over a wall where he then fell into the 450 pound gorilla’s enclosure.
USA Today reports about the public backlash after the killing of Harambe and Hanna’s response to the incident. Video of the incident shows the boy being violently dragged through the water by the 17 year old gorilla, keeping him close at all times. Many who viewed the video interpreted the gorilla’s actions as protective over the small child, but others (including Hanna) think the zoo did the right thing out of concern for the boy’s well being. After the incident the boy was treated at a local hospital, but is home now and said to be doing fine.
Hanna remarks, “They made the correct decision. A human being is alive today because of the decision the Cincinnati Zoo made.” Though many argue that the zoo officials should have used a tranquilizer on the gorilla rather than lethal force, Hanna explains that the gorilla was already in an alarmed state and a tranquilizer shot could cause even more agitation and take up to 5 minutes to have the desired effect.
Still others are placing the blame directly on the child’s parents and have even started a petition calling for the parents to be held accountable for the animal’s death. The petition currently has more than 350,000 supporters on Change.org. When asked about Hanna’s opinion on the parents’ negligence (specifically the mom) he said, “I guess maybe she was doing something else (instead of keeping an eye on her son). I don't know. I wasn't there.”
What do you think of the tragic incident that led to the killing of Harambe at the Cincinatti Zoo?
Do you think the zoo keepers were right to use lethal force in this situation? And do you think the parents should be held accountable for the gorilla’s death?