News about the 400-pound gorilla that was gunned down to save a 4-year-old toddler who fell into its pen has being making rounds on the internet and there had been varied reactions, some blaming the parents while others are asking if shooting the gorilla named Haramabe is the only option.
When the child fell into the moat, the gorilla stood the boy up and pulled up his pants but as the crowd's clamor grew, he tossed the little boy to a corner and stood over him. He then dragged the boy by foot through the water. A few moments later, Harambe was shot by Cincinnati Zoo officials.
Many was not impressed on how the zoo officials responded to the incident saying that they could have done something else that could save both the gorilla and the child. Others are suggesting non-lethal shooting, high pressure capsicum spray, tranquilizers, and tear gas. But the zoo officials said that shooting it was the only option.
"Tranquilizers do not take effect for several minutes and the child was in imminent danger. On top of that, the impact from the dart could agitate the animal and cause the situation to get much worse," said Thane Maynard, director of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, according to NY Daily News.
Animal behavior expert Professor Gisela Kaplan of the University of New England said that she didn't believe that the boy was in danger. She said that the silverback knows that the child is defenseless and is not a threat. She added that Harambe was merely investigating and didn't want to harm the kid since it didn't beat its chest, the Daily Telegraph reported.
She also said that if the keepers had a good relationship with the animal, one keeper who is close to Harambe could have given him a command to calm him down.
Meanwhile, Ian Redmond, chairman of The Gorilla Organization, said that zookeepers had other options besides the fatal shot.
“When gorilla or other apes have things they shouldn’t have, keepers will negotiate with them, bring food, their favorite treats, pineapple or some kind of fruit that they don’t know and negotiate with them,” he said according to Fox5 San Diego.
“I don’t know if that was tried or people thought there was too much danger but it does seem very unfortunate that a lethal shot was required,” he added.
Following Harambe's killing, an online petition on Change.org was launched calling for "Justice for Harambe." As of this writing, the petition has over 280,000 signatures.