Jane Goodall is known all over the planet as one of the foremost experts on all things primates. On Sunday, Goodall decided to make her extensive thoughts regarding the shooting death of Harambe the gorilla known to the public. In summary, Time reported that Jane Goodall believes the Cincinnati Zoo had absolutely no choice in the matter. Shooting Harambe the gorilla was necessary to save the life of the child who had gotten into the enclosure.
After Harambe, a 17-year-old western lowland gorilla, began to drag around a three-year-old boy who had fallen into the enclosure, officials made the hard decision to shoot the gorilla to death to save the boy. As a response, there was an uproar over whether or not this was the right thing to do. With experts such as Jack Hanna and Jane Goodall saying the zoo made the right decision, it is possible the zoo did make the right decision when it came to whether or not to kill the primate to save the boy.
“It was awful for the child, the parents, Harambe, the zoo, the keepers and the public. But when people come into contact with wild animals, life and death decisions sometimes have to be made,” Goodall said.
“And also it takes time for a tranquilizing dart to take effect.” Jane added to the conversation. She likely made the decision to add this statement because one of the biggest arguments from pet activists has been regarding why the zoo did not tranquilize the gorilla instead of killing him.
Jane Goodall had also been asked if there was anything that could have been done to prevent this from happening, or if anything can be done to prevent something similar from happening. Jane Goodall, unfortunately, could only say that there was no way to keep wild animals in captivity and guarantee their enclosures are 100 percent accident-proof. Truthfully, accidents happen.
“There is never a 100 percent accident proof way of ensuring a wild animal kept in captivity will not pose a threat to people. In the United States, there is the Association of Zoo and Aquariums (AZA), and globally there is the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA)—organizations that develop and promote the adoption of the high standards of public safety and animal welfare.”
At one point in time, Goodall was asked what she thought Harambe might have been thinking when the boy had fallen into the enclosure and he was carrying him around. Jane Goodall believed it would be hard to tell for sure what the gorilla had been thinking without really knowing him. “A 450-pound animal had hold of a small child. Harambe could have hurt the child even without intending to cause harm,” was the best way the primate expert could think to respond to the question.
[Warning: The following video may be disturbing to some.]
Truthfully, no one could know for sure what Harambe was thinking as he carried the small boy around the enclosure. Even if it was true that the gorilla was just protecting him and carrying him around like his own child, a human child is not as strong or durable as a baby primate would have been in the arms of Harambe. It, however, is just as likely that the gorilla was getting ready to crack the boy’s head open similar to what the gorilla would do if it was eating a coconut. Truthfully, no one really knows.
Naturally, some have questioned what took Jane Goodall so much time to formulate a response and reaction to what had happened at the Cincinnati Zoo. Goodall believed that while the right decision was made by officials to kill the gorilla, Harambe still deserved people to grieve and mourn his death.
With experts such as Jane Goodall and Jack Hanna coming forward to support the decision the zoo made to kill the gorilla to save the boy who had fallen into the enclosure, do you think the zoo made the right decision, or do you think they should have tried to tranquilize the gorilla instead?
[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]