Gorilla Warfare

This week the Cincinnati Zoo experienced a tragedy.

A four year old boy fell into the gorilla cage causing quite a stir. Video shows Harambe, the gorilla in the cage, dragging a four year old through the water. He proceeds to stop and does not harm the child. However, officials had the problem of how to extract the child from pit in a quick manner. Take a look at the video here.

That is scary!! You can hear the mother trying to keep her son calm. You can also hear a child scream. Whether that is the four year old remains to be seen. However, it would not be surprising if it was him.

As the child was in imminent danger, the zoo made the choice to kill Harambe.

As usual, the American public had intense remorse for the animal. They had just as much criticism for the parenting of the mother. The discussion of why zoos are actually animal imprisonment resurfaced, and Americans showed their true colors once again. Killing Harambe proved to be the wrong choice for John Q. Public, and they went off!

Per the usual with social outrage, most don’t take the time away from their feelings to review the facts. So, let’s do that.

A child fell into a gorilla pit. The priority is to get him out safely. Tranquilizing Harambe is an option. However, the darts would have taken approximately 10-15 minutes to reach its full effect. In the process, Harambe could have become angry as opposed to confused. An angry Silverback and a small four year old are not a good mix.

More facts.

The average height and weight for a male Silverback Gorilla is 5’6 and 400 pounds. It has been stated that Silverbacks are possibly 20 times stronger than the strongest humans. Although this has not been confirmed, we know Silverbacks are fast, agile, and have raw power. Compare this to the average height and weight of a four year old child (40 inches and 40 pounds), you can see where there is a problem. A major problem. A problem that had to be corrected within minutes.


It’s easy to Monday morning quarterback the decision. Truth be told, there is a small percentage of people who have ever been in this situation. So, why chastise the zookeepers? Then there are the parents who act like they have eyes on their kids ’round the clock.

You don’t, so stop lying.

Kids are agile, quick human beings. You can never have your eyes on your child 24/7 no matter how hard you try. Turn your head for a second and they’re gone. They will figure out how to slip your grasp. Some end up in more dangerous situations than others. However, the situation may not be an indictment on your parenting skills. ESPECIALLY if it’s a one time thing. Yet, you can’t make your four year old sit down in IHOP. You let them run through the mall, scream to no end in Wal-Mart, and you don’t follow through on your word. To top it all off, if anyone tells you how to parent your child, then dismiss the advice with prideful irritation.

This, among many other reasons, is why I’m getting tired of the internet.

There are a lot of experts who don’t know anything. We complain to no end about the decision made. If the child had died, we would then complain about the decision to not act quick enough. We would also eviscerate the mother even more harshly.

We need to stop that mess.

Why can’t we be thankful the child did not die? Why is there always blame to be laid on someone else? Why do we value this gorilla’s life over a child’s?

I don’t get it, and I never will. However, I am thankful the child is alive. As sad as it may be that Harambe was killed, I feel that pails in comparison to mother losing her son. There is a silver lining in all of this.

Maybe we should find it instead of turning the situation into gorilla warefare.

[Iimage Credit Flickr via Steven MacDonald]

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