The world is mourning a 17 year-old gorilla that was shot dead at Cincinnati Zoo after a four-year-old child climbed into the enclosure.
Even though staff at the zoo defended the decision to kill the endangered 400-pound animal, a petition “Justice for Harambe” was launched to hold the boy's parents criminally accountable for the gorilla's death.
“They made a tough choice and they made the right choice because they saved that little boy's life,” said zoo director Thane Maynard.
Even though such accidents are incredibly rare (this was the first since the Gorilla World enclosure opened in 1978), the debate is not about whether the parents were to blame or whether zoo staff made the right judgment call.
The only talking point right now should be the fact that zoos as we know them continue to exist.
Threatened animals deserve to be protected, absolutely. We need zoos for conservation purposes alone. Why we continue to keep wild and exotic animals in captivity for the interest and entertainment of humans has nothing to do with the welfare of the animals and everything to do with lining human pockets.
There are plenty of ways to learn about animals without gawking at them through enclosures. Sure, we've come along way from small cages. Yet the more "open concept" such enclosures become, the greater the chance of this kind of encounter.
Even under the "best" circumstances, captivity is never acceptable for gorillas or other primates & in cases like this it's even deadly.— PETA (@peta) May 29, 2016
Until we move away from the construct of public zoos, such tragic encounters will happen more often - and at great cost to animals and humans alike.
Image Source: Daily Mail