The Internet at the Speed of Thought

Zoo Criticism Intensifies Following Killing of Rare Gorilla

at 5:03 pm | By

Justice in an age of internet.

The internet is angry.

Of course, the internet is always angry. Debate spreads like wildfire igniting impassioned feelings about the topic du jour. One recent topic—zoos.

In the couple past weeks, people have twice wound up, both deliberately and accidentally, in the enclosures of dangerous animals at the zoo. In both cases, this lead to drastic measures on the part of zookeepers—two lions and a rare gorilla were killed. Now, an outcry for animal justice is spreading the web. But, perhaps, we’re the ones who are beginning to act more like caged animals behind the bars of our computers.

While the killing of these animals is being portrayed as arbitrary, we forget how arbitrary the public’s own reactions become. As mob-like reactions erupt, it’s important to consider the facts and underlying issues that don’t get the same amount of attention on the news and social media.

harambe dead gorilla with boy

Source: YouTube @TomoNews US

Where do you stand?

Harambe

harambe dead gorilla picture

Source: Twitter @HuffingtonPost

Critically endangered across the planet, gorillas are among the most intelligent and recognizable apes. Their only natural habitats include patchy parts of Africa. The largest living primates, gorillas are also closely related to chimpanzees, bonobos, and, of course, humans.

Harambe was a 17-year-old male gorilla who was born in captivity in Texas before being moved to the Cincinnati Zoo in 2014 with the hopes of breeding. The Cincinnati Zoo has had the among the best success with gorilla births.

A crowd favorite, Harambe became the unfortunate victim of human violence last Saturday, May 28, when he was killed in order to save a four-year-old boy, who had fallen into his enclosure.

The Incident

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It all started when the four-year-old boy managed to crawl through the rails around the gorilla enclosure, and then fell ten feet into a moat. The 450-pound Western Lowland silverback Harambe found the boy in the water.

The gorilla proceeded to both drag the boy around and “stand guard” over him, depending on who you ask, but zookeepers weren’t about to take any chances.

Deciding tranquilizers were too slow and thus dangerous, zookeepers fatally shot Harambe in order to save the boy’s life. He was rescued with only minor injuries. Harambe death, however, has sparked outrage that is largely the parents and zookeepers.

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