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Bless the beasts

gorillaThe  cages at the zoo are meant to protect us humans from the wild, unpredictable creatures, right.? After you read this, you might wonder if the cages are there to protect the beasts from us.

After a 4-year-old boy fell into the gorilla enclosure at the zoo in Cincinnati Zoo, security  officers did what they said they had to. They shot and killed the gorilla to save the child.

National Public Radio reported the zoo said in a statement that the boy fell into the exhibit’s moat. “A male Western Lowland gorilla was in the yard with the child – and “the zoo’s dangerous animal response team responded to the life-threatening situation and made the difficult decision to dispatch the gorilla (Harambe).”

Paramedics rushed the boy to the hospital with serious injuries -from the fall- and he’s going to be fine.

“We are all devastated that this tragic accident resulted in the death of a critically endangered gorilla,” Zoo Director Thane Maynard said in the statement. “This is a huge loss for the zoo family and the gorilla population worldwide.”

I know. Part of you says ‘There had to be another way.’ Another part tells you something else.

“You’re talking about an animal that’s over 400 pounds and extremely strong,” Maynard said. “So no, the child wasn’t under attack but all sorts of things could happen in a situation like that. He certainly was at risk.”

“All of a sudden you heard this ‘Bam,’ and you knew they had shot the Gorilla, and you heard the other gorillas just go crazy,” Mary Freeman, a zoo visitor from Lexington, told WLWT. Firefighters say the child “was in between the gorilla’s legs at the time of the kill-shot.” A tranquilizer shot was deemed “too dicey.”

Maynard explained to “In an agitated situation, it may take quite a while for the tranquilizer to take effect. … At the instant he would be hit, he would have a dramatic response. You don’t hit him and he falls over.”

The zoo is open, though the gorilla exhibit is closed.

I guess the Cincinnati zoo couldn’t  take a chance. But it- and all zoos- should improve their enclosures for the sake of the animals.

You might recall another incident when a child fell into a gorilla enclosure. It was back in 1996 at a zoo in Illinois. It ended much differently and it makes one think. The video isn’t the best quality, but the incident was caught on camera. The female gorilla Binti Jua didn’t maul the child. She picked up the unconscious boy, cradled the child to protected him from the other primates, and eventually the gorilla carried the boy over to paramedics.

Binti Jua’s heroism received national attention. Newsweek named her Hero of the Year. she made People Magazine’s Most Intriguing People.

Binti Jua still resides at Brookfield Zoo.

Bless her and all the beasts.

Source: From the Archives: Gorilla Saves Boy | NBC Chicago

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