Today, a 400-pound gorilla named Harambe was killed murdered at the Cincinnati Zoo. Harambe had just celebrated his 17th birthday on Friday. Harambe’s death is directly attributable to the parent or parents of the four-year-old boy who, apparently unwatched and unsupervised, climbed into the gorilla enclosure. Neither the child nor the parents have been named in the media as yet, else I would certainly use the parents’ names in this post. The death of an innocent animal rests on their shoulders and I hope lays heavily on their consciences. Please note that I do not blame the child … a 4-year-old child does not have the experience nor the mental capacity to understand the danger … that is why children have parents!
The boy climbed between the bars into the gorilla enclosure, fell into a moat, escaping serious injury. Then Harambe, probably thinking “Oh goodie! A new toy!”, grabbed the child and was carrying him around the enclosure. The zoo’s dangerous animal response team watched for 10 minutes … 10 minutes during which, had they tranquilized the animal, he would have fallen asleep and they could have rescued the child … before ultimately deciding to shoot and kill poor Harambe. The child was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The gorilla is dead.
While I am certainly glad the child was not seriously injured, I would like to give the parent or parents 10 lashes with a cat o’ nine tails. At the very least, I think they should be charged with child neglect, child endangerment, and investigated to determine whether they are, in fact, actually fit to be parents.
Last May (2015) a male wolf at the Menominee Park Zoo in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was killed after authorities say it bit a child. The child went into a non-public area, put his or her fingers through a fence and received minor injuries to two fingers when the wolf bit them. WHERE WERE THE CHILD’S PARENTS?
In 2014, a child fell into the jaguar exhibit at the Little Rock (Arkansas) Zoo. Again, where were the parents? Were they too busy snapping pictures or munching on snacks to be bothered to monitor their own children?
This morning as I was walking in the park, a young girl, probably around age 6, stopped me to talk about the ducks that had wandered into the park, as they sometimes do after a rainfall. I chatted with her for a moment, and as I was about to proceed with my walk, she said “I want to pet them”. I took another moment to explain to her why that might not be a very good idea, then went on with my walk. Suddenly it dawned on me that there was no parent, older sibling, nor anybody with this child. She was completely unsupervised, and she and I were the only two humans in the park at that time. Zero parental supervision at 8:30 on a Saturday morning! There could have been a serial killer, the child could have fallen from the swing she was on, anything could have happened to her. No parents. Too busy sleeping in, watching television, or doing whatever to be bothered to walk to the park and supervise their child.
Animals behave as their instincts, developed over thousands of years, guide them. It is not reasonable to expect otherwise. Harambe was not intentionally hurting the child who climbed into his enclosure … he was simply doing what came naturally, carrying him around and playing with him. In all of the above cases, zoo officials referred to the incidents as ‘regrettable’. I say they are criminal. If parents cannot or will not stay close to their children and take care of them, then they have no right to take them into a zoo, amusement park or other venue where there is potential danger. Today, parents seem altogether content to turn their young children loose on the world and expect them to simply be okay, then when something happens, they file lawsuits and blame everyone except the truly guilty party: themselves.
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Why??? Why would they kill the animal??? If lets say, a zoo got some of the 60 javan rhinos, and a kid fell in and the rhino attacked, would they kill it??? Yah, that’s why zoos suck.
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I agree. And actually, I later saw a video and the reality was that the gorilla was actually trying to take care of the child, to protect him from all the screaming people! So very sad … so very wrong.
I think it is sad that this poor majestic animal had to be killed, because of the neglect of some parents to watch their child. I believe that at first the animal tried to protect the child, but because of the noise of the spectators he became agitated and tried to get the child away from the noise. The more the crowd carried on, the more he tried to get away with the child in the only way he knew how and the more agitated and aggravated he became, thus making a tranquilizer unsafe. By the time it would have worked, all kinds of thing could have happened. I believe it was the only way to end this. Sadly. Where were the parents? Why were they not watching their child? Probably on the phone or i-pad. – Per the zoo director, this exhibit had been in operation for 38 years and nothing has ever happened. I am gad the child is safe, but So, so sad the animal had to be put down. — Sorry, I got to ramble on like this, but I am agitated about this myself. – Have a great day my friend.
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Yes, it is sad … tragic … not the first, nor, I am sure, the last such tragedy. 😥
I think we have to have a balance between the notion that a parent needs to monitor every move of his or her child and being seen as an irresponsible parrent when a child gets injured as a result of exploring, though you are correct that these cases fall way out of the range of that category.
Now, in all the above cases, I absolutely agree that the parents should have done their job, keeping an eye on their children particularly since they were in wild animal habitats and I too believe it was unnecessary for zoo officials to kill an animal that was just following its instincts, especially since they had the option to do something less drastic but didn’t take advantage of that opportunity.
Now I’ll come to your example of the park.
though I agree that 8:30 in the morning is pretty early to let a 6-year-old go alone to a park, this doesn’t mean that the parents aren’t being irresponsible. Maybe they lived pretty close and talked to their daughter about playing in the park alone, maybe they’ve been there before with her daughter, that’s something we’ll never know.
Now, our daughter is 6 and she walks to school alone. The school is less than a mile away. Are we bad parents because we give her a little freedom to let her walk to school by herself after I spent 3/4 of the school year walking with her every day? Now, I don’t ask the question to be ugly or confrontational but to make a couple of points.
Statistically, most abductions of children and the like are done by people who the child knows and has gotten to trust, (a friend, a relative etc.) and the incidence of such child related abductions has diminished over the years but Hollywood and the media love to perpetuate the notion that these things happen every day to perpetuate fear that there is a bogyman on every corner just waiting to snatch a child and it’s simply not the case.
as I have always said, a society that is fearful is one that is easily controlled and manipulated by those in power and that includes the wreckless irresponsible media in this country.
Children need independence and I don’t for one second imply that your post is saying that they don’t or shouldn’t be independent but I’m just saying that as a society, I think we’ve grown too fearful of possibilities and we don’t encourage children to find themselves and have the “freedom” to do so.
We’re always afraid of being sued, afraid that there’s a serial killer around the corner, afraid that a kid will fall out of a tree, afraid to let our kids play alone in a park down the street because CPS might come around and take our children.
I’ll close with a question and that is “what does all this fear teach our children? Does it teach them to be curious exploratory human beings that they were designed to be?
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