The tragic and seemingly unnecessary death of Harambe the gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo has created the perfect internet sh*storm: the death of a beautiful and endangered animal, suspect parenting, and a child. Speaking of which, can we all just calm the f*ck down and leave the parents of the small child alone! I personally have an aversion for children and almost always blame the absentee parents for their bratty offspring, but this happens to be a unique situation. You would think she was married to the dentist who shot Cecil the lion.
But if there’s anyone whose opinion matters the most on this subject, it’s world’s most famous primate expert Jane Goodall.
Goodall, who sympathized with zoo officials for having to make such a horrible choice, says that Harambe might not have had malicious intentions. The Jane Goodall Institute put out an email that Goodall sent to Thane Maynard, the director of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Here’s what she wrote:
Dear Thane, I feel so sorry for you, having to try to defend something which you may well disapprove of. I tried to see exactly what was happening—it looked as though the gorilla was putting an arm [around] the child—like the female who rescued and returned the child from the Chicago exhibit. Anyway, whatever, it is a devastating loss to the zoo, and to the gorillas. How did the others react? Are they allowed to see, and express grief, which seems to be so important? Feeling for you, Jane.
Clearly, Goodall is referring to the Chicago zoo incident in which Binti Jua, a gorilla who picked up a boy that fell into the exhibit, cradled him in her arms, and carried him to zookeepers at the door. And she doesn’t appear to be the only one, either.
New footage shows that Harambe was not acting aggressively at all. In fact, he very much does appear to be cradling the boy to protect him from any harm from the other silverback gorillas. Further, it was screams from those watching the unfolding situation that panicked Harambe, causing him to drag the young boy at a quick speed across the water. Brittany Nicely, an eyewitness who saw the whole incident go down and even tried to intervene, seems to think that the boy was in no danger at all.
I tried to prevent it,” said Nicely. “I tried to grab him and I just couldn’t get to him fast enough. What the first responders saw, I’m just not sure… They said he was violently throwing the child around, which seems crazy to me. They have a picture of the boy sitting in front of the gorilla moments before they shot him. (Daily Mail)
Animal lovers are justifiably outraged, garnering 70,000 petitioners atto demand the parents be investigated. Police are still considering charging the parents with child neglect.
Featured image via Facebook/Cincinnati Zoo