Category:  Social Media

To Tranquilize or Not To Tranquilize?

To Tranquilize or Not To Tranquilize?

Zookeepers at the Cincinnati Zoo shot and killed a rare gorilla after a four-year-old boy fell into the enclosure Saturday. The whole incident lasted about 10 minutes. People are divided on the issue as to whether or not the gorilla named Harambe deserved to die. The zoo director made the final call that the gorilla should be shot rather than tranquilized, and he stands by his decision. The topic is trending among many news outlets and there is no consensus on the blame for this tragic incident.

The zoo’s expectations for itself as listed on its website include:

  • Ensures expectations are well understood and holds self and others accountable
  • Holds self to high standards and always tries to do the right thing
  • Treats others with respect
  • Practices DWYSYWD (Do what you say you will do)
  • Acknowledges mistakes and learns from them
  • Takes ownership of problems/projects and shepherds the process to resolution

If the zoo really does follow its expectations, we can assume it thought that it was doing the right thing in shooting Harambe. According to the zoo officials, silverback gorillas are dangerous and Harambe was disoriented when he chose to ignore the call of his zookeepers to clear the area. A spokesperson said tranquilizers were not an option because they take several minutes to effect the animal. 1 The zoo claims that it has also complied with all enclosure guidelines.

People who support the zoo’s decision are saying human life trumps animal life any day. Ironically, among those people is presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“"They probably didn't have a choice,” Trump said, “You have a child, a young child, who is at stake and you know, it’s too bad there wasn’t another way."

There aren’t, however, as many supporters as those opposed. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is an active voice in opposition to the zoo’s decision. PETA claims the zoo is the only one to blame because it had a lack of barriers for animals and, more so, that animals aren’t meant to live in captivity. A primatologist agreeing with PETA, claims the gorilla was likely trying to care for the toddler and previous incidents show gorillas not harming children.

A large portion of the public is outraged at the zoo’s decision. This sparked a trending handle #JusticeForHarambe and a petition on for the parents to be held responsible for the death of Harambe. The petition has 138,000 signatures, having received 8,000 in the first 24 hours.

Celebrities have also been quick to add their opinions online:

“Rest in peace <3 #Harambe” - Kaley Cuoco

“Boycott #Cincinnati zoo #harambe” - Crystal Hefner

“Shame on those for the murdering of #harambe” - Kelly Osbourne

In a witness’ video of the incident, you can see the gorilla standing in front of the child and pulling the child away when the crowd begins to grow louder. When interviewed, the witness claims the boy had been joking about going into the water and the barrier enclosing the gorillas was decently secure.

The boy’s family released a statement that he is injury free and they thank the zoo for acting quickly.

1 Depending on the type of drug used as a tranquilizer, it can take effect in about three to 10 minutes. If the zoo had used a tranquillizer, it could have doubled the time of the incident. Tranquillizers may also cause seizures or heart failure in excited animals.

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