No story within the last 24 hours has split public opinion like that of the four-year boy that fell into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo and drew the curiosity of a 17 year-old gorilla named Harambe.
Harambe no doubt was curious of what fell into his lair.
But that curiosity cost Harambe his life as zoo officials shot Harmabe dead to save the boy, identified as Isiah Dickerson.
Some want to blame the parents of the boy for not paying better attention.
Some are elevating Harambe to such human status that they would like the mom to face charges.
There is even those that are using the tragic event to question the existence of public zoos.
Let's start right there.
Zoos used to be the purview of the rich and famous. One of the most wealthiest men in the United States, William Randolph Hearst, in fact, had a zoo at the famous San Simeon ranch. Now the masses can view exotic animals close up. Sorry but the vast majority of people will not be able to see many of the animals in zoos in their natural habitat. Knowledge of animals and how the live and interact should not be only for those that can afford it. Zoos also serve a purpose in doing research about all kinds of animals. No, not harmful research but trying to learn about what makes animals tick. Our modern zeal to be more humane with animals has taken away the reality that we know little if anything about those that we share this planet with. While this is an interesting article, the writer is clearly against the concept of breeding animals that will only know the life of being in a zoo. It is a clear quandary, but I support zoos and the good that they do.
There is no question that apes and or gorillas are very smart animals. They are the closest to humans in the animal kingdom. But at the end of the day, Harambe was an animal and when the chips are down, the brass tacks if you will, a human being must be protected and that is why the zoo officials made the gruesome decision to kill Harambe. Is it possible that a tranquilizer dart could have done the job? Well, I take the word of the former head zookeeper of the Cincinnati Zoo, Dr. Jack Hanna. According to Dr. Hanna, a tranquilizer dart would have taken about five to 10 minutes to work. Keep in mind that we are dealing with a four-year-old child, not an adult who might have had the ability to figure out what to do once Harambe was hit with a tranquilizer dart. According to the first linked article in The Daily Mail, it does appear that Harambe may have been in fact trying to protect young Isiah. Here is video. To us humans, it appears that at some point, Harambe is dragging Isiah like a rag doll. But then there is a curious moment when Harambe clearly is showing what can only be described as affection for Isiah. I think that it is clear that both are scared for different reasons. After all, Isiah invaded Harambe's space. Being so domesticated, he had no idea who or what this was. Was Isiah a threat? This is what we do not know about gorillas. It was not the time to take a chance. The zoo did the right thing.
Now the craziness of the Internet had some people trying to equate the fact that the gorilla was taken out and a white child was protected. That somehow, this whole episode is a sign of the eeeeevvvvviiiiilllll "White privilege".
The fact is that Isiah Dickerson is black. As are his parents.
And here is where the weirdness of the internet rears it's ugly head.
The fact is that there is no doubt the mother, Michelle Gregg, and the father, Deonne Dickerson, have to bear some responsibility for not paying better attention to Isiah in the first place. Not that it matters per se, but Mr Dickerson is not exactly a model citizen as this article points out. Some people are somehow trying to tie that point into a larger point that the parents do bear some responsibility. They do. No matter what, I think that conservationist Jeff Corwin is spot on here. That zoos are not baby sitters. They are serious places and yes, they have wild animals. People may think that Mr. Corwin is wrong in saying what he said but there are numerous reports that the parents were distracted by the other children and not paying close attention to Isiah. In fact there are reports that Isiah said that he wanted to swim with the gorillas. Again, let me remind the reader that zoos contain wild animals. No matter how domesticated they are, one can not take lightly the fact that Harambe was all of 400 pounds. Isiah may have been at the most what, 50 pounds?! It does appear that there will be an investigation into all of the events and that is clearly warranted.
Sadly, the Cincinnati Zoo is in a no-win situation but did the right thing in killing the gorilla Harambe to save the life of Isiah Dickerson.