Saturday, 4 June 2016

Harambe killed for no good reason.

The day after his birthday, Harambe, a 17-year-old Silverback ape was shot by Cicinnati Zoo. This critically endangered ape species was in his area on Saturday when a small boy fell into his compound. The video spiked social media outrage, and protestors can be seen near the zoo campaigning against the outrage. News.com and vox.com look at the events in greater detail. Let’s go through the process.

A small boy fell into the Silverback Ape compound. The first question we’ve got to ask is, what was the mother doing. In my view, the mother should be fined for the death of the ape (essentially a lower class of manslaughter) and should have to pay for a new one, because these critically endangered animals need a breeding program. So, what really was the mother doing? Did she not notice her son entering the compound? Could she not control him? Is she responsible enough to keep the child?

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Secondly, what sort of zoo has a compound that allows people to get in? The zoo is for educational and breeding purposes, not for humans to get ‘up-close and personal’ with the species. Why was a child allowed to get in, and what review was made when the building of the zoo was being completed. It’s not as if this child was extremely small, this could have happened any time, and the zoo should have been aware of this.

Now, the next question we’ve got to ask is, what was the best outcome? Could the zookeepers have waited longer, or could they have saved the ape’s life by shooting it with a tranquiliser. A weak point held up by the media is that if the Ape was shot with a tranquiliser, he could have fallen on the boy. Unlikely. Any way, what’s the difference between a tranquiliser and a gun? The ape still falls, why would the direction be different? A stronger point is that the ape could have been infuriated by the shooting of the tranquiliser, and could have been more aggressive. I think it was worth the risk. The zoo keepers should have shot the animal with a tranquiliser first, and then, if the animal showed angry actions, they could have shot him. It would have given the ape a second chance. Lets look at other cases. In the 1990’s, a boy fell into a zoo enclosure with apes, and was successfully rescued after the ape was tranquilised. The same ape had been protecting the boy, and had been stroking the boy’s back, showing defensive sides, something an ape would have done with it’s own young.

Lets look at the actions of the ape. While some in the media would suggest that the ape was being vicious, that is false. The ape is seen rushing through water, holding the boy’s hand. This is what the ape would have done with it’s young. The actions are not aggressive, but passively normal. Now, the argument is that the boy sustained a concussion, which could be serious, but the mother should have been looking after the boy. Sure, its not the boy’s fault, he’s only young, but the mother and father are those who give the child the upbringing, and they should have taught him to take self control. Even if this had not been taught, as I say, the mother should have been aware of her son.


Should he have been killed. I think that other actions, like a tranquiliser shot, could  have been taken to try to protect the animal, instead of an outright shooting. I think this will mean a harsh look at, not only this zoo, but other zoo’s protection, so people can’t get in. Past experiences should have taught them not to go light on the infrastructure, and I think this calls for a look at all zoo’s facilities and safety for both humans and animals.