Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Harambe the gorilla; a poor lesson in understanding.

I'm not an animal activist. I'm not even a vegetarian. I'll even hold my hands up and say that I don't check to see if the toiletries I buy have been tested on animals.

But when the news came out that a gorilla, a rare and endangered species, had been killed because of ignorant, negligent and poor parenting as well as a rash and arguably harsh decision from Cincinnati Zoo, it didn't quite sit well.

It's not the fact that the gorilla had been killed and that I felt a level of sympathy for an animal dying. It wasn't even because it was an endangered species.

It was because once again, regardless of our so called 'intelligent' brains, we, as a race, have fundamentally failed.

Now, let's start with the one question that has been tossed around as if it were part of a pub quiz:

Is a child's life more important than a primate's?

Well, perhaps yes. In the most simplistic terms that child could grow up to become more influential than the ape. It could, by some means, add more substance to life than an animal that has been known to throw its own fecal matter.

But is questioning the life of one animal over another's the right question? Please remember that we, humans, as incredible as we like to think we are, are also animals.

Personally, I think the question that should have been asked is whether the ape, or let's call it by it's name, Harambe, deserved to die?

Harambe, a 17 year old western lowland gorilla, was within his enclosure, living his life as it would do on any other day. All of a sudden a child, disgustingly left alone by two parents who, in my opinion, should be punished for their negligence, fell into the enclosure.

Two of the three animals were distracted and left the boy alone. Harambe, however, went to the child and dragged it through the waters within the enclosure.

Imagine you were in his position, the gorilla and not the child, and something fell into your home from above. Imagine it was moving, breathing and looking at you curiously.

In fact, let's simplify it further.

Imagine you're sat on the sofa watching television and a cockroach falls on you from above.

Can it harm you? No. Does it frighten you? Yes. Is it the cockroach's fault for landing on you? Yes but it wasn't at complete fault. Do you wish to remove it and/or kill it? Definitely!

The same can be said about the child. It had done everything to startle a wild animal within its own territory and force it to potentially kill. Please note: POTENTIALLY.

And yet, regardless of the fact that this gorilla, a species which has very similar characteristics to humans, was doing exactly what it should have done, it got shot dead.

Obviously I cannot state to have any knowledge of animals or their behaviour, certainly nothing close to that of the officials at Cincinnati zoo, but I question whether death was the only option.

It just frustrates me that regardless of human ignorance, we have the arrogance to claim the life of something else, regardless of what it is or was.

Should the zoo be charged with poor guarding of the enclosure?

Most definitely.

Should the child be reprimanded in some way for his actions?

Of course.

Should the parents be seriously questioned in their capabilities as carers?

I don't think an answer has ever been so blantaly obvious.

Most of all, should we look at the actions taken against that animal as a harsh lesson to the brutal mentality of humans?

Yes, we should.

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