When I first read the news, it struck a chord with me. Maybe because I love zoos. Maybe because I have a 5-year old son. And maybe because we go to the zoos together a lot. I’ve watched the videos, read multiple articles and opinion pieces on it and have posted a number of comments when friends shared the news. But I needed to channel some of my thoughts into one consolidated piece.
The zoo did the right thing
Yes, we value the life of a kid more than a gorilla. That fact is clear and as sad as it is, that’s the reality. That is why I believe the zoo did the right thing. There were many opinions that the gorilla was protecting the boy but if you see the full video, I highly doubt it. And I will trust the zookeepers’ opinion and decision as well. Making the decision to shoot a gorilla that they have been taking care of would not have been easy but if they made that call, then I believe it is the right one.
If it was my kid in there, I would probably have expected the zoo to do the same thing. Which brings me to my next point.
What was the kid doing in there?
There have been a lot of parents who came out to say that accident happens and that children are sneaky and you can lose them. I am sorry but I don’t buy that. Some parents have said people that are critical of them don’t have kids.
I do. And I do criticised them for not taking care of their kid. Sure, they are sneaky. My son is sneaky and love to run around. But I have never allowed him to climb up an enclosure. In my mind, there was absolutely no justification for the boy to be in that situation. This was pure negligence. And that negligence caused a life.
Where was the apology?
There wasn’t one. In fact, it was a statement that pretty much said “accidents can happen”. And that is probably what angered me the most. I am not even saying lay the full force of the law down on them and charge them for being negligent. All I hoped for was a statement of regret.
A statement where they admitted fault. That they were negligent. That they were sorry that Harambe had to be killed. That maybe they would dedicate time now to help wildlife conservation. But all we got was accidents happen. And I cannot accept that. I cannot even accept that there are parents out there who are okay with it. That accident happens is an excuse that we can all use. It cannot be.
Are zoos evil?
There have been a lot of comments saying zoos are evil and they killed the gorilla because it was the most logical conclusion to avoid lawsuits. There are evil zoos and they should be closed down. A certain zoo in Indonesia springs to my mind whenever zoos and evil appear on the same sentence.
But there are a lot of zoos that are doing good work out there in terms of conservation. We should support them because what they do is important. Is there a need to monetize? Sure, because research as well as getting the best care and treatment for the animals are not free. If we left them out in the wild (which is ideal), we would certainly be looking at a lot more extinct species today.
To be honest, I simply don’t believe that we will ever be able to protect wildlife in the wild completely. Humans suck? Yeah, we pretty much do.
Note: Pic above is not Harambe. It is from the Melbourne Zoo.