Another animal in captivity has lost its life — allegedly, unnecessarily — and animal lovers are up in arms.
A day after Cincinnati Zoo officials shot and killed a male silverback gorilla because a 3-year-old boy fell into the animal enclosure on Saturday, the public is erupting in fury over the behavior of the boys’ parents.
Amateur footage captured the child’s 10-minute ordeal after he fell 10 feet below a lookout area reserved for zoo-goers. During that time, visitors screamed frantically at the gorilla and tried to usher him away, to no avail, according to LADbible.
The curious male grabbed the boy like a rag doll and dragged him along the moat. The boy’s mom is heard trying to comfort the child by saying, “Mommy is right here.”
Seventeen-year-old Harambe died after zookeepers made the life and death decision. They shot and killed the ape and rescued the boy, who was taken to a nearby hospital. Luckily, the boy is expected to survive, according to the latest update on his condition.
Scores of people on social media are blaming the parents for the gorilla’s death and the child’s injuries. Some have gone as far as calling the incident a “senseless death” and “murder,” according to the Facebook page, “Justice for Harambe.”
— RT (@RT_com) May 29, 2016
Recently, two zoo tigers were shot down after an alleged suicidal visitor entered the enclosure. The victim survived, but activists say more could have been done to prevent the ease of entry.
Western lowland gorillas are part of a rare species according to the World Wildlife Fund. It’s understandable how this tragedy has a significant impact on the dwindling numbers.
Zoo Director Thane Maynard said they are not sure if the great ape posed a danger to the boy, but protocol was followed. Maynard spoke to local reporters. Although Harambe did not seem to be attacking the child, he reminded the public that the gorilla is still a “wild” animal, despite a life spent in captivity.
Witness says gorilla was “protecting” 4-year-old boy who fell into his enclosure, not hurting him: https://t.co/U018EHuPpi
— Good Morning America (@GMA) May 29, 2016
“You’re talking about an animal that’s over 400 pounds and extremely strong. So no, the child wasn’t under attack, but all sorts of things could happen in a situation like that. He certainly was at risk.”
Silverback gorillas stand nearly 6-feet-tall and weigh in about 350 pounds when fully mature on average. Gorillas travel in “troops” and are fiercely territorial — both in the wild and domestic settings. The alpha male allows other males in the group, but he has sole mating rights.
The stunning footage conjured up memories from 1986 in a similar zoo incident. Then, a boy at Durrell Wildlife Park (formerly Jersey Zoo) in the English Channel fell into an ape sanctuary after scaling a wall to get a closer look.
Jambo, the resident male, approached the boy, who sustained a fractured skull and broken arm. The crowd was amazed as the gentle giant stroked the boy’s back and stood guard over his body, offering protection from juvenile male gorillas.
Unlike the tragedy at the Cincinnati Zoo, there was no loss of life. Thankfully, the child was rescued, and the ape returned to its pen.