See all Safaritalk Special Offers

optig

Gorilla shot in Cincinnati Zoo after a 4 year old falls into its' enclosure

26 posts in this topic

It's unfortunate that this gorilla had to be shot due to the fact that its' enclosure hadn't been made impenetrable to children. Furthermore, his family should have been watching him more closely.I don't believe that Harambee the gorilla wanted to hurt the child, but I believe that the child could have been killed out of fear or panic by the gorilla. Many years ago at the Lincoln Park Zoo, a child fell into a gorilla's enclosure with the same size as Harambe and the gorilla actually carried him to safety. However, the circumstances were different this time, and I feel that the Zoo's authority had little choice but to shoot Harambe.

 

Richard Dawkins the famous biologist who is considered to have a great scientific mind on the planet, made the proposal that the greater apes be classified as humans. My point is I don't feel that the higher primates such as:gorillas,chimpanzees,bonobos,and orangutan should be kept in Zoo's nor should they be used in any type of medical experiments. I don't feel I'm being a fanatical about it I'm simply just being sensible.

 

http://www.wlwt.com/news/police-responding-incident-at-cincinnati-zoo/39773436

4 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

zoos like to have them as they bring in the money and want to educate people about them

 

this case shows that they are incapable of looking after them

 

I feel dubious about zoos , the only good thing they do is educate the public about conservation issues and some of them contribute substantial funding to field conservation projects

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

knowing about the legal system in the US, the parents of the kid most will most likely sue the zoo for one trillion dollars because of all the psychological damage this incident caused to their child, themselves and half a generation to come

Edited by ice
3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I posted my opinion on this incident yesterday, but did not know how to do so properly. I sent it to @GameWarden, who responded with instructions how to do so. But, I am not very techie, so hope he will repost my comments in this forum.

 

There has been a backlash re: the parent's responsibility (and I agree with much of that), but also some ill-informed opinions re: the zoo's actions (not from SFtalkers). As stated in my original post, I believe the zoo made the proper, difficult decision.

 

I agree with @@optig that higher-order primates should not be in zoos. In fact, despite their "educational" value, most zoos would not pass muster in protecting and sustaining their wild animal responsibilities. Some do, and I applaud their efforts.

 

As I write this, I am looking at a photo dated 1950 of me in a baby stroller, with my father, at the Washington, DC National Zoo. I am pointing my little hand at an Asian elephant across a rather-small barrier, and looking back at my mom who, no doubt, was saying "Look this way, Louise!" to take the photo. I was one year old. I treasure this old, faded photo. As some of you may know, my iconic species is the elephant. Perhaps it started way back then....at a zoo? Just a thought.....

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's @@panamaleo's comments to me quoted below...

Would be interested to hear fellow ST member's comments on this incident.

Yesterday at a zoo in the USA city of Cincinnati, Ohio (I have family members living there; not in the zoo), a 4 year old boy somehow slipped into the enclosure of a 17 year old Mountain Gorilla (born and bred in captivity, and a potential breeding male of this highly endangered species). The limited video available showed the gorilla initially curious, then responding to the presence of the child. As to be expected in an artificial environment like a zoo, onlookers were screaming; perhaps escalating the animal's excitement or fear. The gorilla was on the edge of a watercourse in the enclosure; the child partially in the water.

Apparently it took about 10 minutes for zoo staff to make a decision (and at one point in the video, the gorilla dragged the boy across the watercourse). The decision was not to attempt to dart with a tranquilizer; the thinking being that a 400 pound gorilla would take time to subdue, and what might happen during that period? The hard decision was to kill the gorilla.

Here's where I wish your opinion. I believe the decision was correct in this case, although tragic for this endangered animal. Ian Redmond with the Gorilla Foundation organization, was interviewed, and suggested that "negotiation" with the gorilla could have been an option...offer a treat or food in exchange for the child.

I find it hard to fathom that a "family-friendly" public zoo would be so insecure that a child could fall 10 FEET into an animal enclosure. Am sure the Cincinnati Zoo will be upgrading their safety measures! I do hope that this incident will launch a discussion re: zoos in general, and more specifically, the importance of financial support for wildlife in their natural habitats.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From what I have read from witnesses the boy actually said out loud several times that he wanted to go play with the gorillas in the water. The mother (I believe from what I've read it was one parent there not two) was also attending to several other children. It seems from witnesses that rather than falling in, he purposely then tried to get into the gorilla enclosure, crawling through some bars and then bushes.

 

I certainly agree that gorillas should not be in zoos and I am angry that the gorilla was killed. I understand the risk of trying to tranquilize the gorilla. But I wish they had tried some of the techniques such as negotiating with him. I also think that they could and should have tried to move the onlookers away who were screaming as that surely agitated the gorilla. If just his keepers who he is used to talked to him calmly, perhaps he could have been convinced to leave the boy. It did seem from the footage I've seen that he was not trying to harm the child but rather either being protective or curious.

I found it enlightening to read what primatologist Frans de Waal had to say - here's a quote and the link to the whole statement he made is below that:

Seeing more of the videos, I got the impression that Harambe was mostly protective. He showed a combination of protection and confusion. He stood over the child, held him up, moved/dragged him through the water (at least once very roughly), stood over him again. Much of his reaction may have been triggered by public noise and yelling.
There was no moment of acute aggression, as also admitted by the zoo director. If the gorilla had wanted to kill the child, one bang of his fist would have done it. People have no idea of their superhuman strength. Yet, he didn’t perform any killing move.
I should also clarify, since people on Facebook have said that gorillas are dangerous predators, that this is entirely wrong. A gorilla doesn’t look at a human child as something edible. The species is not interested in catching moving objects, the way cats are. Lions or tigers are predators, but gorillas are peaceful vegetarians. They prefer a juicy fruit over a piece of meat any time of the day. The one thing that reliably makes a gorilla male mad is another male who enters his territory or gets too close to his females and young. Haramba surely knew that he was not dealing with competition, hence had no reason to attack.

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/notes/frans-de-waal-public-page/rip-harambe/10154127508562200

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel very bad for the keepers who had to make this decision.

 

I feel dubious about zoos , the only good thing they do is educate the public about conservation issues and some of them contribute substantial funding to field conservation projects

 

 

Well that's a pretty big thing IMHO. My local zoo raises california condor chicks to be released into the wild, along with pygmy rabbits, butterflies and turtles - all threatened species. My favorite thing they do is when they have to anesthetize larger animals, like tigers, to do things like clean their teeth they bring in kids from the local school for the blind so they may 'see' their first tiger. I totally get why people are uncomfortable with species we know to be very intelligent being kept in zoos, I just hope there's room to acknowledge the good that comes from well managed zoos and aquariums.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

@@SafariChick Agree with you al the way. The zookeeper who raised him (at a different zoo) said he had been crying at the tragic news, "Harambe was my heart. It’s like losing a member of the family.” He said he was very, very intelligent.



The mother came out publicly and also had a PR firm issue a statement. It seems rather unbelievable that she is the administrator of a child care facility. While I agree that certain animals should not be kept in zoos, I hope she doesn't sue them. (@@ellenhighwater I do agree zoos do some very good work)



Jack Hanna came out and strongly defended the decision to shoot the gorilla. I thought his argument that Harambe could crush a green coconut with his hand was not addressing all the points experts like Frans have made. He also avoided a reporter's question about why it took so long. The takeaway seemed to be that Hanna was most interested in defending the zoo's action. Jeff Corwin, however, brings up other techniques and emphasizes human error, suggesting negligence on the mother's part.



https://www.facebook.com/topic/Jeff-Corwin/105943309437204?source=wtfrt&position=2&trqid=6290604218273465730


http://heavy.com/news/2016/05/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w45u8gzeHoc


Edited by fictionauthor
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

@@fictionauthor I had not heard that the mother is the administrator of a child care facility. How ironic and strange. It reminds me of the local story in a town near me that just happened where a man hit and run a woman walking her two labs in a wealthy suburb. The woman was hospitalized with moderate injuries but will be ok, but the two dogs' injuries were so bad they had to be put down. :( there was good surveliance footage of the vehicle and when the man was found and arrested, turns out he's a popular dog walker who has photos of him with all the dogs he walks in idyllic settings all over the place on his Facebook page. Life is strange.

Edited by SafariChick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@SafariChick So sad about the labs. Did they find out why this man, a dog lover, did not stop to help the woman?

 

@panamaleo More details are coming out about what happened and you can access those stories online. And I think more will be coming out shortly. But yes, this is sparking conversations, not always as civil as on ST, about wildlife and zoos and more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first thought when reading Jack Hanna's and Jeff Corwin's statements was that Hanna is somewhat conflicted, having his work based out of another Ohio zoo (Columbus). I thought "OF COURSE he's going to defend it."

 

I thought Corwin's was more on the money, at least in my opinion. But the on that made the most sense is the one SafariChick posted from de Waal, which I saw a few times on Facebook.

 

Not having kids myself, I don't fully understand how this happens. I know kids are crafty and fast, but thousands of kids have been by that enclosure and this didn't happen, what made this kid different? And how did BOTH parents (apparently Dad was there too) miss this?

 

I've become more dubious about zoos since I started going on safari. Now that I've seen how a lot of these animals behave in the wild, it is difficult to see them obviously constrained in zoos. Leopards and cheetah pacing, gorillas banging glass windows, etc. But some (San Diego Zoo Safari Park being the most notable in my mind) do excellent work, like white rhino conservation and research.

 

There's a movie that just premiered in NYC that is being shown in Boston in a few weeks, about a gentleman who lobbies to have primates and other like-minded animals classified as "legal persons" for human rights purposes. I think it's called Unlocking the Cage. It's an interesting thought. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5016028/

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi @@amybatt. Today Corwin was on CNN and had now changed his tune. It was very much the party line that Hana had espoused (your take on him was quite right). Today was it very much all about being in support of the zoo.

 

In 38 years, with over 38 million visitors, this is the first time anyone has breached the barrier system and got into their gorilla's area. However, I would like to see photos. They were already planning an extension of this exhibit, so changes were in the works.

 

This zoo has had a successful Sumatran rhino breeding program.

 

News accounts say the father was not at the zoo. A witness said she saw another woman, with an infant, with Gregg. In an online report by a different witness, this witness refers to her own husband wanting to climb in and help and perhaps that's where people got the idea the husband was there. He is the father of her four children (but not her husband, to be correct rather than judgmental). Some accounts refer to six or seven children in this group, stating that some were from the day care center, but that has not been verified.

 

Another witness said the boy, who is 3 not 4, was "running around for ten or fifteen minutes unsupervised." He says that they were trying to find the parent but then another "older kid noticed him climbing into not falling into the enclosure."

 

After days of saying they would not investigate, the police have decided they will. http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/31/us/gorilla-shot-harambe/ I wonder if an attorney for them asked for this because if they find nothing wrong, and all the children at home and at the day care center where she works are deemed safe, clearing them will probably make their case stronger should they decide to sue the zoo. Sadly, this has happened before, parents suing a zoo due to a tragedy brought on from their actions (the painted dog case).

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

@@fictionauthor I have not heard anything more about the thought process of the man who hit the woman and labs. Will let you know if I do.

 

@@amybatt yes, the man to whom you refer is a very devoted lawyer named Steven Wise who has been working tirelessly through the legal system attempting to obtain legal rulings that certain animals should have legal rights. You can read about his work on his website here: http://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org/

 

I was disappointed in Hanna's response though I suppose it's to be expected given his position. More disappointed to hear Corwin moving in that direction too. Here are two more responses. The first is from Dr. Emily Bethell, a senior lecturer in Primate Behaviour at Liverpool John Moors University and she feels much as Frans de Waal does:

 

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/gorilla-trying-kill-protect-boy-8087981

 

The other is from a former zookeeper who worked with gorillas and says that she sees Harambe posturing and acting like a gorilla who is agitated and might throw things to make noise and seem scary so she seems more in the camp that the boy was in danger.

 

https://www.facebook.com/amanda.odonoughue/posts/1203379586363094

 

But even she admits the screaming crowd was likely agitating him. I sure do wish the zoo had tried removing all those screaming crowds and just letting the keepers he knew and trusted try to negotiate with him. And I am still putting some blame on the mother. I'm a mother and have two kids, one of whom was an extremely active, mischievous toddler so I get it, kids can get away in a second. But reports say this kid was saying he wanted to or was going to get in the water with the gorilla. The mother was watching several children. From what @@fictionauthor says, it sounds like the mother really had lost control of the situation. In my opinion, she should have left that exhibit well before any of that happened.

Edited by SafariChick
3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I deleted the whole chunk of what i wanted to say.

 

I just find the whole situation dismaying. I can't visit zoos, but zoos had led to the development of some incredible people such as Alan Rabinowitz who is doing his best to save the big cats.

Edited by Kitsafari
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

@@Kitsafari the system sent me your previous post. I agree with you. That's why for 38 years no child out of the millions who came ever was able to break through the barriers to get inside. I heard this witness on tv say the boy said he was going in not once but twice. http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2016/05/30/boy-zoo-gorilla-enclosure/

 

Very tragic that this could have been avoided.

Edited by fictionauthor
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@fictionauthor thanks for the support. as i wrote that, i was upset, irritated, fed up and helpless that a life was taken at the end of it. ultimately, there's no point playing the what if game. we can only hope that both adults and children, and zoo authorities learn the lessons from it.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't we all wish that the crowd could have been encouraged to calm down. Thus,the gorilla could have been coaxed into releasing the boy. Let's face it, few large animals which are of less dangerous to a child than a gorilla.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@fictionauthor, that's disappointing that Jeff Corwin back-pedaled on his opinion. The more I read about the observations leading up to it, the more frustrated I get.

 

This confuses me even more. How does a 3-year old scale a 3-foot fence? How does he physically do it, and how does he do it and no one catches it before it's too late?

http://www.fox19.com/clip/12476386/how-3-year-old-boy-got-in-cincinnati-zoos-gorilla-enclosure?clienttype=generic

 

Maybe it's time to stop reading it all. I so hope this family does not benefit monetarily via a lawsuit from something for which they were (it seems, IMHO) at the very least contributorily negligent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just saw this video showing what the fence looks like from the zoo visitors' side. Looking at this, you can really see how easy it would be for even a small child to get through - he didn't even have to get over it, just crawl through the wires!

 

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video;_ylt=AwrS5.bFCk9XWGABEwCJzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTBlM3BrZHBoBGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMz?p=cincinnati%20zoo%20gorilla%20enclosure%20fence%20video&fr=yfp-t-s&fr2=p%3As%2Cv%3Ai%2Cm%3Apivot#id=1&vid=3cad56b6d7328b6b61a3fe562457403c&action=view

 

Also, here is a piece written about the incident by Ian Redmond, field biologist and conservationist who has worked with great apes and elephants for decades. I thought this was very well said:

 

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/31/gorillas-shooting-harambe-cincinnati-zoo?CMP=share_btn_tw

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

@@SafariChick thank you for those links, especially the Redmond one. Very well said.

@@optig - yes. Yes.

 

A direct link that has the footage of the UK incident and how it was solved is here (in spite of the header, inside the story the mother of the boy who fell years ago believes they could have avoided the Cincinnati shooting):

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3617401/They-right-choice-says-Briton-saved-gorilla-fell-zoo-enclosure-aged-five.html

 

And the touching case where a mother gorilla saved a boy: http://pix11.com/2016/05/30/watch-mother-gorilla-rescues-3-year-old-boy-who-fell-into-pit-in-1996/

 

@@amybatt thanks for that link. This is a link to video footage a visitor took on May 22 that shows the barrier. https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video;_ylt=AwrS5.bFCk9XWGABEwCJzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTBlM3BrZHBoBGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMz?p=cincinnati%20zoo%20gorilla%20enclosure%20fence%20video&fr=yfp-t-s&fr2=p%3As%2Cv%3Ai%2Cm%3Apivot#id=1&vid=3cad56b6d7328b6b61a3fe562457403c&action=view

Edited by fictionauthor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jane Goodall reached out to the zoo director with her sympathies. She said it appeared that Harambe was acting protectively. However, since it was after the fact, she expressed her condolences to the director. Her concern now that it was over was whether the females had been given a chance to see and to express grief. Sadly though, I'd read they were looking around for Harambe, so I don't think they let them see his body later. As an aside, this is an extension of the work Elisabeth Kubler-Ross did with death and dying for humans.

 

The mother, Michelle Gregg, made a very good and healing gesture by recommending that people not send her money, but send it to the zoo in honor of Harambe. http://www.people.com/article/cincinnati-police-conclude-investigation-into-endangered-gorillas-shooting-death And the family has no plans to sue. http://www.wlwt.com/news/family-of-boy-who-fell-into-gorilla-exhibit-say-hes-still-doing-well/39821518

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that the mother Mitchell Gregg, is handling the matter with grace and class.Furthermore,no mother even if the father was present could be guaranteed to keep an eye on the kids all the time. When guiding a group of children any one of us could look away for just a moment and a child could wander off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I must admit I was wondering how his group would respond to Harambe's death/loss and how they will behave in the coming weeks.

 

I assume he was the only Silver back in that group. Will they introduce another male in due course? I imagine this will be a complex process

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@fictionauthor @wilddog I have also been worried about how the females would react and did they actually see him get shot or how would they understand what happened to him. I think there were only two females and Harambe there. I was also wondering if they would introduce another male. It's all very sad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No charges for the mother.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/07/us/no-charges-for-mother-of-boy-who-slipped-into-gorilla-enclosure-at-cincinnati-zoo.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

 

Zoo workers killed a gorilla who dragged the 3-year-old around, leading to harsh criticism of both the zoo and the boy’s mother.

 

why are Gorillas in zoos?

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/07/science/gorilla-shot-harambe-zoo.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

 

Gorillas have been shown to thrive in captivity, but some wonder if their display is tailored to the interests of the animals or the onlookers.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


© 2006 - 2017 www.safaritalk.net - Talking Safaris and African Wildlife Conservation since 2006. Passionate about Africa.