opinion

A gorilla is dead and a child is alive, that is the way it had to be.

A magnificent 17-year-old endangered Silverback gorilla is dead and a 4-year-old child is alive today and in the end, that is the way it had to be.

Harambe the gorilla from a Cincinnati zoo was killed on the weekend for a reason and it’s a good one.

Mourners have placed flowers beneath this gorilla statue at the Cincinnati zoo. Source: Facebook.

The powerful, wild animal was shot dead after a 4-year-old boy somehow managed to fall into its enclosure. Up until that Sunday, the barrier had been effective for 38 years.

We've seen the footage. A little boy in a moat of water and Harambe suddenly dragging him by a foot up stream. Then down stream. Sudden. Strong. People above screaming and filming.

The screams rise. The gorilla is behind something and we can't see. Then a shot.

ADVERTISEMENT

Images of the gentle way the gorilla moved the child were released today and thousands have been vocal about how angry they are over the decision to shoot-to-kill rather than tranquilise.

But this anger is misplaced. There was a single and clear choice on that Sunday. It was the choice between a 4-year- old boy and a gorilla. The boy wins.

The shot that killed Harambe was a necessity.

It needed to be a bullet and not a tranquiliser as zoo staff knew tranquilizers would take too long to immobilise - and can also cause aggression.

Do you really believe that the trained animal caretakers, who have looked after, fed cared for and taken these endangered animals to medical appointments would have wanted to shoot Harambe?

Chief executive of Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire, Dr Sharon Redrobe told Metro why a tranquiliser would have been ineffective.

"Tranquillising the gorilla with a dart just simply wouldn’t have worked in this situation," she said. "It would have taken up to 10 minutes to take affect and the animal may have become violent which would have had catastrophic consequences."

Source: Screenshot/Facebook.

The death of Harambe could not be avoided. If it could have been avoided it would have. The workers at Cincinnati Zoo loved Harambe.

Mourners must remember that Harambe - however gentle he appeared - was also a 200kg wild animal and wild animals are unpredictable.

Countless are the instances where a loving family dog has suddenly turned, where a tame creature has acted out and even where a gorilla has attacked a woman and pulled her into its enclosure.

ADVERTISEMENT
Source: Creative Commons. 

In 2007 a much-loved gorilla named Bokito escaped his enclosure and viciously attacked a woman who had been watching him. The woman was dragged along the ground, her bones fracturing as Bokito lay more than a hundred bites across her battered body.

The woman had been a regular visitor of Bokito who had often smiled at the primate. Primatologists believe smiling is misinterpreted by apes to be a sign of aggression.

The unintended communication may have been the reason why Bokito chose her out of the crowd, or it could have been a simple case of coincidence or, who knows the reason because we are human and can't know what a gorilla is thinking.

It will never be known because gorillas - however advanced they are at communication, however much we feel we have a connection to them - are still wild animals.

Watch the footage of Harambe and the child. Post continues after video...

There are so many, 'maybes' and 'what ifs' that have surfaced as a result of this incident.

Harambe is dead and speculation as to what may have happened if he was left to be with that little boy in the enclosure will offer nothing other than more questions. More 'what ifs'. More 'whys'.

There is only one certainty in the case of Harambe: The bullet that killed him didn't just take the life of a 17-year-old gorilla, it took away the very big risk that a little boy might die too.

FROM OUR NETWORK
00:00 / ???