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Harambe – a rallying cry for tolerance

harambe

Harambe” is said to be an African chant, a rallying cry for unity and co-operation, used in Kenya.

Harambe is also the name for a rare & endangered 17 Year Old Western lowland silver-back Gorilla that was moved to Cincinnati Zoo back in 2014 from the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville.

He was sadly killed on May 28th, 2016 at Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio.

He was killed due to a young unattended child falling into his holding area due to a negligent inattentive parent.

The zoo director, Thane Maynard, confirmed the gorilla did not appear to be attacking the child, but he described it as ‘an extremely strong animal in an agitated situation’.

‘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.’

Given time and the right ( calm ) environment, some animal behaviour experts say, that Harambe would have handed over the child.  I think that Homo sapiens or human beings excel at not trusting or having faith in what they can do, and instead they stereotype the situation “big animal, we can’t control him, the boy may be hurt by the big strong animal, let’s kill the Gorilla, rather than try to subdue the situation and try a little longer to rescue the boy, while keeping the gorilla alive”.

During a press conference on Monday, Maynard said Harambe was ‘behaving erratically’, before adding: ‘The child wasn’t just being endangered, but dragged around by the ankle and hurt.’  The gorilla is or was intelligent and dragged the boy away from screaming on-lookers to protect the boy.  Anyone can see in the stills that the Gorilla did not intend to purposely harm the child.  The child, of course, was hurt when he fell in.

News reports say the zoo will review whether the enclosure is secure enough, and the Zoo Director has said “what do you expect from a 4 year old child”, when the real issues are the enclosure was not doubled up to prevent this from happening  AND  the parents took their eyes off the boy.  The parents thank God for keeping their child safe and for having the right people there at the right time – which is pretty ironic –  as they were there too and supposed to be actually keeping a close hold of their four year old.

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Soon all the fuss will die down, Harambe whom grew up in captivity, will be missed by his primate family.   Another rare and endangered animal willfully destroyed, because of careless parents and short-shortsightedness with not having the enclosure child proof.
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The parents had 4 children and could have been looking after the youngest properly, especially because he had said he wanted to play in the water, and the Zoo or someone in the Public could have asked sometime before 28 May 2016, for the enclosure to be made more secure.   A quick acting zoo visitor could have scaled the fence and grabbed the boy.

On the day of Harmabe’s death, someone clear headed about having a calm environment with the situation at the zoo ( yes it is possible ) could have cleared the area away from shouting panicking on-lookers.

Yes, so many COULDS or SHOULDS, with the moral of this story being for the Cincinatti Zoo to do the right thing regarding its responsibilities toward its captive animals welfare and toward the zoo visitors.  Issues around whether we should have Zoos at all will arise, for example, why not just have them as Conservation Centres not even open to the public?
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I for one don’t want to go to a “Zoo” to stare at animals.
The End  ( of Harmabe’s short life – Gorillas can live to 60 years of age )

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