Yes, Child Trumps Gorilla. Can’t Even Believe That Actually Needs To Be Said

by Maria Guido
Originally Published: 

The internet is calling for #JusticeForHarambe

A gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo was shot over the weekend when a four-year-old somehow made his way under the protective barrier and fell into the moat in the enclosure where the gorillas are kept. Harambe, a 17-year-old gorilla immediately noticed the boy and for 10 minutes dragged the four-year-old around until zoo officials decided the only way to keep the boy safe was to shoot to kill the gorilla.

“The child was being dragged around,” Thane Maynard, the Cincinnati Zoo’s director said. “His head was banging on concrete. This was not a gentle thing. The child was at risk.” Maynard told The New York Times. The child suffered a concussion. Maynard said that the gorilla was capable of crushing a coconut with his bare hands. They could not take any chances that the boy would be okay, especially after the gorilla began to act agitated.

“We are heartbroken about losing Harambe, but a child’s life was in danger and a quick decision had to be made by our Dangerous Animal Response Team,” said Maynard in a Facebook post addressing the incident. “Our first response was to call the gorillas out of the exhibit. The two females complied, but Harambe did not. It is important to note that with the child still in the exhibit, tranquilizing the 450-pound gorilla was not an option. Tranquilizers do not take effect for several minutes and the child was in imminent danger. On top of that, the impact from the dart could agitate the animal and cause the situation to get much worse.”

Professionals at the zoo made the tough and right decision to protect a child’s life by any means necessary. But let’s not focus on the fact that a child’s life was saved. Let’s blame mom, because of course:

Anyone with children knows that they disappear. It’s not unheard of. It’s totally disconcerting that the child was able to get into the gorilla enclosure, but with witnesses confirming that it happened in the blink of an eye it’s incredible that so many Perfect Parents™ are calling for the mother’s head, but of course they are. This is the internet. Land of armchair perfectionists and parents who’ve never made a mistake.

In the real world, four-year-old’s run off sometimes. It’s happened to the best of us, we’ve just managed to not be the parent whose child slipped into a primate exhibit. But we’ve probably all been the parent whose child slipped away for a moment at the grocery store. Or slipped through a rack of clothes at Old Navy. It only takes a second, and if you’re a parent who’s never experienced that quick moment of panic — thank your lucky stars. But also realize it’s pure luck — not superior parenting. It is virtually impossible to always have your eye on your child.

Brittany Nicely, a witness at the zoo, told The New York Times that the whole thing happened so fast and the mother had not been neglectful. “She had three other kids that she was with. She had a baby in her arms,” said Ms. Nicely. The boy was in the pen in “the blink of an eye,” she said.

No matter, the internet is pissed. And they’ve started a petition petitioning Hamilton County Child Protective Services. It reads:

We the undersigned want the parents to be held accountable for the lack of supervision and negligence that caused Harambe to lose his life. We the undersigned feel the child’s safety is paramount in this situation. We believe that this negligence may be reflective of the child’s home situation. We the undersigned actively encourage an investigation of the child’s home environment in the interests of protecting the child and his siblings from further incidents of parental negligence that may result in serious bodily harm or even death.Please sign this petition to encourage the Cincinnati Zoo, Hamilton County Child Protection Services, and Cincinnati Police Department hold the parents responsible.

Really? A child should potentially be removed from his home and placed in foster care because his mom’s eyes strayed for a moment at the zoo? Excuse my language, but fuck every single person who signed this petition. You would petition to remove a child from his home because some sad news from a zoo made you an armchair animal activist? Go back to playing Candy Crush. You’re not needed here.

In addition to the utter insanity that is a petition for a CPS investigation, everyone on the internet is all of a sudden an expert in animal behavior:

This is not to say that Harambe wasn’t a beautiful, majestic animal. He was. It’s terrible that he had to be shot. But he had to be shot, as determined by professionals who actually realized that the life of a HUMAN CHILD trumps the life of a gorilla. For fuck’s sake, I can’t believe I actually have to type that sentence. We live in a world where we have more empathy for a gorilla than a human child.


He wandered somewhere he never should have been able to get to.

And because of quick action by the zoo, he’s alive.

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