As with the murder of any animal under the so called “protection” of humans, nothing seems to cause public outrage more, particularly among AR activists, than the killing of Harambe, a 17 year old Western-lowland silverback gorilla held captive at the Cincinnati Zoo. Anyone who is on Social Media most likely is aware of the gruesome and freakish details. While in the care of his parents, a little boy “climbed over a 3-foot-tall railing, then walked through an area of bushes about 4 feet deep before plunging some 15 feet into the moat” which surrounds Harambe’s “enclosure” (euphemism for cell). Video footage shows the gorilla jumping into the moat, interacting with the boy while holding his hand, holding him in his stance, looking at him and pulling him through the water by one arm. Reports say that this interaction went on for ten minutes or so before the Dangerous Animal Response Team made the decision to shoot Harambe in the head, killing him instantly.
In a public announcement, Thane Maynard, President of the Cincinnati Zoo stated that the right and only decision was made when dealing with a dangerous animal, with no explanation of why the powers to be at the zoo have labeled gorillas as dangerous in the first place.
Bystanders confirm that the child seemed to be in imminent danger:
From what we saw [the child] could have been killed at any second. You could look into their [zoo officials’] eyes and tell they had tough decisions to make. It was basically the child or the gorilla, and they chose.
Jennifer Miller, shares her observations born of studying captive Western Lowland gorillas at the Cleveland Zoo:
Gorillas are deep contemplators. They are observers more than reactive aggressors.
Harambe’s hold on the child and his sheltering of the child inside his stance, are all indications of protection.
Adult gorillas commonly drag one another and their offspring through the water, in which case the infant gorilla typically climbs up the adult to avoid the ground. A human child would not know to do this, but that does not justify defining a normal non-aggressive behavior as aggressive.
I too wonder why Harambe was killed, rather than tranquilized. I’ve listened to all of the reasons why he was killed but don’t see that it was necessary.
Paul Watson, who is known for his outspoken and pointed comments, agrees that gorillas are non aggressive beings and places the blame for Harambe’s murder directly on the shoulders of the parents.
Harambe is dead because an irresponsible and negligent mother allowed her 4-year old son to fall into a Gorilla enclosure.
Jack Hanna, host of “Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild also weighed in:
The zoo made the right call by shooting the gorilla. I saw the video of the gorilla jerking the boy through the water and knew what would happen if the animal wasn’t killed. I’ll bet my life on this, that child would not be here today.
This is just a sampling of the multiple and varying perspectives offered concerning the “incident” that claimed the life of this living (not talking here about quality of life) and breathing, albeit captive being. What do I think about it? My views are echoed in the words of the Admin at Ecorazzi,
Shooting Harambe was no worse than raising a pig to slaughter for bacon. Sure, he had a name and an enclosure you could visit him in, but he was still property; he was still exploited for human gain. Debating the efficacy of barriers, parenting skills, and captive animal safety misses the point.
These words in no way diminish the value of Harmabe’s life, but rather speak to the value of all sentient life in highlighting the destructive disconnect in which we humans engage in our daily interactions with other species. This disconnect is well illustrated in the human construct we call zoos. Contrary to industry spin, zoos are nothing more than death for profit industries which trade on the vulnerability of other species. Imagine the arrogance of the Cincinnati Zoo calling the exhibit (euphemism for prison) in which they house these majestic beings, Gorilla World. This gulag represents in no way the natural world and environment in which free gorillas live and love.
And what about the ultimate insult to Harambe after the manner of his life and death have been so callously controlled and decided by his captors?
Though Harambe was not yet mature enough to breed, his sperm was collected after the shooting for possible reproductive use and for research purposes.
I have no words to aptly describe how offended I am on his behalf for this final indignity.
Recent news reports indicate that the Cincinnati Police may investigate and charge the parents of this child with neglect. What really needs to be investigated are the myths and lies put forward by zoos in order to legitimize and defend the indefensible, with a view to ending forever the captivity of other species for our gawking pleasure.
Annie’s Vegan View
In order that something good my come of this travesty of justice, please end the exploitation of all species caught in the cogs of capitalism and profit.
Become vegan today!!
May all beings be happy and free.