Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard said if they had to do it again, they would respond the same way to save the child.
“That child’s life was in danger. People who question that don’t understand you can’t take a risk with a silverback gorilla — this is a dangerous animal. Looking back, we’d make the same decision. The child is safe.”
Zookeepers shot and killed a rare gorilla on Saturday after a 3-year-old boy slipped into its enclosure. The boy went under a rail, through wires and over a moat wall to get into the enclosure, according to the zoo. They shot the 450-pound gorilla with a rifle, rather than tranquilizing him, which sparked widespread Internet outrage over that decision.
The unidentified boy was taken to the hospital and released Saturday evening. The family thanked the zoo in a statement through a public relations firm:
“We are so thankful to the Lord that our child is safe. He is home and doing just fine. We extend our heartfelt thanks for the quick action by the Cincinnati Zoo staff. We know that this was a very difficult decision for them, and that they are grieving the loss of their gorilla. We hope that you will respect our privacy at this time.”
Some suggested the boy’s parents should be held criminally responsible for the incident. Actually, an online petition seeking “Justice for Harambe”
earned more than 100,000 signatures in less than 48 hours and states that “this beautiful gorilla lost his life because the boy’s parents did not keep a closer watch on the child.”
Ian Redmond, chairman of The Gorilla Organization, said zookeepers had other options.
“When gorilla or other apes have things they shouldn’t have, keepers will negotiate with them, bring food, their favorite treats, pineapple or some kind of fruit that they don’t know and negotiate with them,” he told CNN
The animal advocacy group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said the larger concept of zoos is the root of the problem. What do you think?