A gorilla from Ohio’s Cincinnati Zoo has reportedly been shot dead after the life of a four-year old boy was put in jeopardy.
The boy is said to have fallen into the gorilla’s enclosure at the Zoo, and once there, his life was then in the hands of a 17-year old, 400-pound gorilla named Harambe.
Amateur video footage shot by spectators shows the gorilla dragging the child at high speed through the simulated water environment in his enclosure.
Zoo officials said ending the gorilla’s life was a "difficult" decision to make, but it was the "right decision" and was the only way to ensure the child’s safety.
The event comes just about a week after two lions were shot dead in a Chilean Zoo in an attempt to save a man’s life after he had entered the Zoo’s enclosure as a part of a suicide attempt.
Being dragged at such high speeds by the powerful gorilla, the boy’s head could have easily been crushed or collapsed by nearby rocks, or the boy could have drowned from all of the surging water.
Despite the Zoo’s decision to put the gorilla down to save the boy’s life, you can bet there are a lot of people who are upset about the gorilla having been shot dead. Many argue that a tranquilizer dart would have sufficed.
The Zoo, on the other hand, was worried that using a tranquilizer dart may not have been enough to handle the situation.
It would have been possible for the gorilla to lash out from the effects of the dart out of fear, further escalating the issue and further risking the boy’s life. Furthermore, the dart’s effects would take several seconds or minutes to take effect, which was not an option given the ‘emergency’ situation.
Protesters have taken to social media with the hashtag #JusticeForHarambe suggesting that the killing of the gorilla was unnecessary and that the parents should be held accountable instead. An active petition with 60,000 signatures for holding the parents accountable currently exists as the BBC reports.
Overall, it seems like the issue could have been avoided, but the Zoo had to act in the moment to protect the innocent boy’s life regardless.
Source: BBC (1), (2)