I support the decision to kill Harambe
This mom feels that the Cincinnati Zoo acted exactly as it should've because a child could've died.

The recent events around Harambe, the gorilla who was shot at the Cincinnati Zoo, are tragic. When a 4-year-old boy fell into the enclosure last week Saturday, a 17-year-old male gorilla by the name of Harambe decided to take possession of the child. After 10 minutes of trying to coax the gorilla inside, he was shot and killed, in order to gain access to the boy. The social media backlash since the animal’s shooting has been extremely scathing.

Read more: Whose life is more important – kid or gorilla?

Many animal rights activists are criticising zoo officials for shooting the gorilla, instead of darting him. Parenting groups have called for a re-evaluation of events and are demanding that the parents of the child be charged for negligence. People seem polarised, while some believe that this was gross mismanagement of the situation, others feel that the life of the child was paramount. In a world where everybody can publish their opinions, it seems that the Cincinnati Zoo would have been damned if they had, and damned if they hadn’t.

But what if the child had died? What if, like so many suggest, zoo management has simply watched and waited, hoping that Harambe would adopt a “nurturing” instinct towards the boy and then taken it from there? And what if the screaming of the crowd had agitated and confused the poor animal even more, and he had inadvertently killed or permanently harmed the boy? What would the world be saying if, instead of a dead gorilla, the story had ended with the death of a 4-year-old boy?

Read more: Readers respond to Cincinnati Zoo's killing of endangered gorilla

I suspect that people would be talking about what a terrible tragedy this was. Nobody would blame the gorilla, and a family would be left with the void of loss and sorrow, regret and guilt for the rest of their lives. As a mother of 5 small children, and a world of experience with a rambunctious 4-year-old boy, I can state without a doubt, that kids run off and do stupid things. And that they do it so fast, that even the most attentive parent cannot always stop them. Secondly, although I am not a zoologist or animal behaviourist, I know that real animals in real life, are not like the animals in Disney movies. As much as we know about them, we cannot predict what they will do in stressed situations, and particularly not a sensitive and intelligent ape, who became visibly unnerved by the sudden shouting and screaming of the crowd.

Why didn’t they dart him? Simply put, a massive animal like that would not just slump to the ground, mere seconds after the dart entered its body (life is not, I repeat, NOT a Disney movie). He may have spent several minutes confused and disoriented, and possibly gotten aggressive.

It is a great tragedy that this magnificent animal had to die. I do not advocate the unnecessary killing of animals at all, and certainly not critically endangered ones! But as a parent, I stand by the decision made by zoo officials, and I am grateful that the story didn't go the other way.

How do you feel about this situation? Was the zoo right to kill Harambe? Send us a letter to chatback@parent24.com and we could publish it.

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