Readers respond: Whose life is more important - kid or gorilla
Readers give their opinion on the events surrounding the child in the gorilla's enclosure

Readers respond to an article published on Parent24, Whose life is more important - kid or gorilla.

To answer the question, Dayan Govender said: "Both - however I think the situation could have been prevented if parents paid closer attention to their child. 

"And it seems even when we don't mean to - the animal still suffers. Would a tranquilliser not have worked?"

Jackie Peters said: "It's unfair. They could have darted the animal and taken the kid out. Anyway, who walked into who's 'territory' here? It's the negligence of the parents that sparked all this. Note to parents - be very careful when taking your kids out to places with wild animals."

Melanie Kotze said: "Both lives were important. It wasn't necessary to kill the animal. The parents need to be held accountable. I feel human beings aren't in danger, but there are few gorillas."

Mandla Sibanyoni said: "My view is simple, before making any comment. Imagine if that was YOUR child at the hand of that gorilla. How long will you stand there and watch it "touch and drag" the child while someone is going to look for a treat? Let alone waiting for the zoo keeper, while somebody is preparing to "negotiate" with the animal.

"Of course the parents must be blamed for not taking good care of the child and yes, the zoo management did the right thing in putting the poor animal down."

Anton De Waal said: "That child's parent is irresponsible and child welfare should get involved. Children die in cars, in swimming pools, fall from buildings, from neglect of parents. To have children is a 24/7 responsibility. Close that zoo. Where is the RISK assessment? Do not keep wild animals if you have to kill them." 

Vanessa Pedlar said: "A life is a life - be it a human or an animal - both are equally important. I don't see anybody shooting a child, teenager or an adult that has put an animal in 'mortal' danger or that has even killed an animal - be it by 'accident' or just because they're psychotic.

"I must agree - where was this boy's parents? I'm a mother of 4 children (now adults) that always had a house full of kids, be it cousins or friends and have taken them on numerous excursions and have NEVER 'lost track' of any one of them, at any given time, no matter where we went.

"The parents of this boy should be held responsible for the zoo's loss and their irresponsible and negligent behaviour by endangering both of the said lives - the gorilla was in an enclosure - supposedly safe from poachers, trophy hunters or somebody's tables in the mountains. He should have been protected as much as what the child was.

"The gorilla had a better chance of survival out in the jungles and mountains. Darting the gorilla, in my opinion, was an option. Make the tranquilliser a little stronger, so it's more effective and works quickly. Where was the zoo staff? Why were they not there to handle or do 'crowd control'? If the crowd was moved away and the gorilla was not spooked by the screams, the situation would've also been far different.

"The gorilla did not apply for the job at the zoo, it's people like you and me who has put the gorilla in that situation, just for our entertainment. How about putting a couple of humans on display for the pleasure of nature and the animal kingdom?

"Sounds childish? Of course it does. As childish as having to have the gorilla shot, just because a human made a mistake. For real? And that's an excuse??? How on earth was that zoo built, that a 4 year-old could gain access to this enclosure - what next??? A three year-old gaining access to a lion or leopard enclosure? Then it's going to be the animal's 'fault or mistake' for it happening.

"Then the mother goes on the exclaim on Facebook how thankful she is that her child is okay (we all are), but does not even offer an apology for her absolute lack of parenting skills and the inability to be a responsible and accountable parent, in an environment she exposed her child to. Again, the gorilla didn't invite them to the zoo, nor did he invite the child to enter the enclosure either. 

"No-where does she even mention the death she allowed to befall the gorilla. She goes on to thank the zoo for their quick response. This woman is demented. Spare a though for the gorilla, apologise for what you've done. When will people take responsibility for their actions and when will they stop putting blame elsewhere? I suppose never, because it's just so easy to point blame in a different direction."

Peter Edwards said: "The primate in the zoo is an endangered species, and the primate visiting the zoo is not endangered; and is a successful breeding pair. The gorilla should have been spared!"

Teressa Pavlakis said: "That was very irresponsible of the mother, I think she should be shot. Also irresponsible of the zoo, a tranquilliser would be fine."

Corne Hough said: "They could have darted the gorilla and not kill him. The boy would still be alive."

Theo Vorster said: "The parents should be charged for the murder of the gorilla."

Clive Makoni said: "I personally wouldn't have taken chances with an animal around any child or any adult. I am sure if it were possible to dart Harambe, they would have done it, but the best decision was made. Sad for Harambe. Kids around that age can slip in a blink; it's a lesson to all of us. I'm happy the boy is well."

William Masenya said: "The parents seem to be negligent because the zoo is a dangerous place. Those things are animals, even if they are enclosed. Parents need to keep an eye on their kids or hold their hands. Also, yes, it is an animal and it has the right to live. If something can be done, besides killing it, they should use that method, which means they don't know their animals. For example, if you have dogs at home, you know how dangerous your dogs are and you know how they act when they are angry. We also know how to calm them - we speak to our dogs, call their names and they become relaxed. They were supposed to use that method."

KT Neeraj said: As a parent, I feel the child's life was more important. Stop blaming the parents or the zookeeper for shooting the gorilla. Parents are human and we do make mistakes. The zookeeper made the right decision as the gorilla is an animal. Anything could have happened to the boy. We can't stop a dog from biting or attacking someone and we don't know when they'll attack. The same goes for a gorilla. As a mother, the child's safety and life is more important.

Carol-Ann Matseba said: I feel for the gorilla and also the parents and child. However, a decision was made by management to the best of their ability. I think we all would have made the decision in order to keep the child safe from harm or danger. Let us, however, not forget - were the parents negligent? That is the big question. I know parents who don't watch their children and when there are problems they want to sympathise. Investigate the parents. 

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