‘Zoos aren’t your babysitter:’ Animal experts speak out on zoo’s decision to shoot, kill rare gorilla

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CINCINNATI, Ohio - The killing of 17-year-old Western lowland gorilla Harambe to protect a boy who slipped away from his mother and entered the gorilla habitat at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens has galvanized social media. Many are left many wondering who's to blame: the mother or the zoo?

Jack Hanna, the director of the Columbus Zoo and host of "Jack Hanna's Into the Wild" also says the Cincinnati Zoo made the right call by killing Harambe. He says the boy would have died if the gorilla wasn't killed.

"It was the right decision made," Hanna told WBNS-TV. "There was no other decision to make. You have human life, you have animal life. No one loves humans and animals more than the Hanna family or the zoo world. And they made the right decision."

Animal expert Jeff Corwin agreed with the Cincinnati Zoo in that tranquilizers may have taken too long.

"In some situations, depending on what the medication is, it can take upward to 10 to 15 minutes," Corwin said. "It may take multiple shots."

Corwin told Fox 25 that the lesson is for parents to treat zoos with the respect they deserve.

“Zoos aren’t your babysitter,” he said. “Take a break from the cell phone, the selfie stick and the texting. Connect with your children. Be responsible for your children. I don’t think this happened in seconds or minutes. I think this took time for this kid, this little boy to find himself in that situation. Ultimately it’s the gorilla that’s paid this price.”

An online petition seeking "Justice for Harambe" has more than 300,000 signatures. They suggest the boy's parents should be held criminally responsible for the incident.

Lt. Steve Saunders, the spokesman for the Cincinnati Police Department, said no charges were being pursued against the child's parents.

4 comments

  • CYNIC

    “Zoos aren’t your babysitter,” he said. “Take a break from the cell phone, the selfie stick and the texting. Connect with your children. Be responsible for your children. I don’t think this happened in seconds or minutes. I think this took time for this kid, this little boy to find himself in that situation. Ultimately it’s the gorilla that’s paid this price.”

    This.

  • Klaatu

    I think it’s clear that the parents are at fault here…although I’m sure they’d beg to differ………because it’s always someone else’s fault. The parents should have to pay restitution for the zoo’s and public’s loss. Check their cell phones to see how long they were on their phones and NOT watching their kids…………….idiots!

    • Shavon

      I agree 1000%. This was so inhumane to do to that innocent animal. That so-called Mother should be ashamed of herself. Why hasn’t CPS been involved?

      • Mel

        Great question! Why is Child Protective Services not involved here? Apparently Ohio doesn’t care about kids. Just like it doesn’t care about its animals. Apparently everything is expendable. The sheer lack of concern for the stupidity of this lazy parent is shocking and appalling, CPS would definitely be interested in how this deliberate act by the child was allowed to happen. And in order for this kid to navigate through all the obstacles and gain access to the exibit, the mothers ineptitude and incompetence speaks louder than her fake and over dramatic cries to her kid in the moat. Absolutely no person can tell me it happened in seconds, this child was overheard plainly telling the parent he was going to do this and STILL she did not pay attention to the child for MUCH MUCH longer than seconds, she needs to have the kid removed from her custody IMMEDIATELY! And WHEN WILL THIS STUPID PARENT SHOW HER FACE AND GIVE AN INTERVIEW BECAUSE SHE KNOWS DAMN WELL ALL OF US REAL MOMS WOULDN’T HAVE TO HIDE BEHIND A PR Firm to say the kid is “doing well”. Listen to the petition and Criminally charge this dumbass and remove the child before he either dies from sheer neglect or does something to hurt others in the process of him being out of control. Make this family financially responsible and morally responsible for education on toddler safety and why gorillas are extremely important to the world’s ecosystem! Also make her take parenting classes before she is allowed have custody of the child EVER!

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