Column: Zookeepers made the right choice in killing the gorilla

Taylor Simmons, Staff Writer

On May 30, the Cincinnati Zoo experienced something that has never occurred before.  A three-year-old boy fell into a gorilla pit, causing the caretakers to have to make the impossible choice to shoot and kill the gorilla. The 440 pound 17-year-old gorilla, Harambe, continually cornered the child against the wall and then eventually started dragging the child around in the water by his ankle.

Some people believe that Harambe was acting protectively and was keeping the child underneath or near him. They believe that the gorilla should not have been shot and that it was the parent’s fault for not paying attention.

Others think that the only way to go was to kill the gorilla to make sure that the child was saved; in this case, it was the only option.

If the gorilla had been shot with a tranquilizer gun, there is no certainty that the chemicals would have taken effect in time. There’s also a chance that the gorilla would have started to freak out and could have harmed the child in panic, even if that was not its original intention. The moment the child fell down the exhibit, zookeepers gave the gorillas a call to leave the cave; while the other two female gorillas listened, Harambe stayed. If Harambe chose not to leave the cave when he was told to do so, who knows he could’ve done if he had the opportunity to have more time with the child.

At the end of the day, a child is more important than the gorilla. There are many aspects to consider: what led to this event? Why weren’t the parents supervising their child and how did the child enter the habitat in the first place?

The only way for the child to get out alive was for the gorilla to be killed. The zoo knows the animal the best, so if there was even a chance for the gorilla to be able to hurt the kid in any way, I think the zoo made the right choice.