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Gorilla shot dead after boy falls into enclosure - May 29th 2016, 03:08 PM

This thread has been labeled as triggering by the original poster or by a Moderator. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

Please don't read/watch if you find harm to animals/children triggering.

I'm just curious on people's thoughts with this:


So a few of my thoughts...

The zoo director says it was a life-threatening situation but the child wasn't under attack but was at risk. The article states it was reported the child was dragged through water for about 10 minutes... I'd have thought the child would have drown by this point from the panic and inability to move correctly through the water even if it was 'shallow' but I suppose there's more to it than that.

My biggest questions are, why they don't have tranquilizers that would have acted fast enough (since the child wasn't under attack according to the director) and most of all, why aren't there any measures to prevent things such as toddlers falling into the enclosure in the first place?

Sure the child was in danger but again as the director said, it wasn't under attack. Sure anything could have happened but surely shooting the critically-endangered species wasn't the only option here? If they'd taken the necessary precautions by stocking better tranquilizers and/or making the enclosure safer, none of this would have even happened surely?

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Re: Gorilla shot dead after boy falls into enclosure - May 29th 2016, 10:15 PM

I'm really split over this. I guess the child's safety was the zoo's main concern so they felt they had to shoot the gorilla, and they knew they'd be able to get him to stop with a bullet rather than a tranquilliser. And there's always a risk with tranquillisers of doing damage to the animal, that would end up with them having to kill the gorilla anyway.

But then I also wonder for the child's safety in regard to it being hit by the bullet and doing him some serious damage. I guess he must have been safe for them to make the shot. I totally agree better precautions were needed and faster acting tranquillisers would solve this problem straight away, so why do they not have them already, particularly in light of the lion attack the other day.

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Re: Gorilla shot dead after boy falls into enclosure - May 30th 2016, 03:38 AM

I understand the child's safety was a priority for the parents and the staff members but at the same time, why wasn't the parents keeping a closer eye on the child?

And why shoot the gorilla?

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Re: Gorilla shot dead after boy falls into enclosure - May 30th 2016, 01:24 PM

Why weren't the parents more careful with their child? They should have been paying better attention and held him close, instead of placing him in what could potentially become harm's way.

That gorilla certainly didn't need to die. He could have been given several shots of tranquilizers, but not a fatal bullet.
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Re: Gorilla shot dead after boy falls into enclosure - May 30th 2016, 03:32 PM

While I'm sad they had to shoot the gorilla, I'm not an expert on gorilla behavior. I think it's also important to note the injuries the boy had already sustained. Even if the boy was not actively being attacked when they shot, he had already likely sustained injuries from the fall and being grabbed.

As far as how the boy managed to get there, I agree he should have been watched more carefully. However, his parents may have been letting him play on the fence or something. Every time I've been to a zoo or theme park with animals (Busch Gardens), I have seen parents holding their toddlers out over the fence so they can "see better."

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Re: Gorilla shot dead after boy falls into enclosure - May 30th 2016, 03:52 PM

Originally Posted by Dreamer. View Post
Why weren't the parents more careful with their child? They should have been paying better attention and held him close, instead of placing him in what could potentially become harm's way.

That gorilla certainly didn't need to die. He could have been given several shots of tranquilizers, but not a fatal bullet.
Supposedly his mother was watching several other children. I still think she should have been watching him but depending on how many kids she was watching it makes sense that some were going unattended.

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Re: Gorilla shot dead after boy falls into enclosure - May 30th 2016, 07:25 PM

I have a lot of mixed feelings. As an animal lover, I'm pulled towards wanting to say the zoo did the wrong thing, but honestly, they reacted in the moment for a child at risk. Animal tranquilizers take a few minutes to kick in and they were worried that the gorilla was going to injure the child, even if it was unintentional, and honestly they probably didn't want to get sued. It's also easy to blame the family, but I do not know the actual circumstances. I think it's a horrible situation and RIP Harambe.

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Re: Gorilla shot dead after boy falls into enclosure - May 31st 2016, 12:14 AM

The reason for shooting the animal rather than tranquilizing it was a rather simple one. If you tranquilized the animal, he would have fallen right on top of him. They were probably waiting for a proper position for the child to be in before tranquilizing the animal, but you can only wait so long. Moreover, people have pointed out how the animals in the past, have appeared to take care of children who fall into their enclosures.

The appearance of safety and compassion on the part of the animal is not a reliable enough determinant of the danger present in the situation.

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Re: Gorilla shot dead after boy falls into enclosure - May 31st 2016, 03:29 AM

The only thing I keep thinking is that if the zoo hadn't acted or had done something different and the child had died, this debate (in general, not this thread) would go from "it's the mother's fault for not watching the child" to "why didn't the zoo do something?" It's a sad situation either way.

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Re: Gorilla shot dead after boy falls into enclosure - May 31st 2016, 06:35 PM

I think it was all around a tragic situation. The tranquilizers would not have acted instantly, and seemingly they had no other way to immoblise the gorilla- not even taking into account the effect this would have had on the child if it fell and been trapped. Obviously the child *should* have been more closely watched but it only takes a second to become distracted and there's nothing the mother can do now, and at the end of the day she's only human. I do think the zoo should have had more barriers etc in place to prevent this happening, and I do regret the death of the gorilla- but I understand how it came about.

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Re: Gorilla shot dead after boy falls into enclosure - May 31st 2016, 08:28 PM

The child was at high risk of getting injured. People are trying to justify that the child wasn't under attack but have they seen the video of the gorilla dragging the child through the water? There is a video of the gorilla dragging the child through shallow water.

Tranquilizers that would act fast enough? Simple way that medicines work. There are no magic tranquilizers that work super fast the way films show them. Chloroform doesn't even knock people out the way the videos show it. It would take a lot of effort to knock someone out with chloroform. Barring an IV, there is no way to knock a gorilla down quick enough. There are no tranquilizers that would be absorbed quickly enough by muscles. It takes time. In Hollywood, they like to show actors getting knocked out by a single shot in the arm. It doesn't happen like that. I work in a hospital, and with IM shots it takes time to bring people down. Barring IV.

I don't recall what the enclosure looks like. There should have been. However, nothing is ever perfect.

Anyway, seeing the video of the gorilla dragging a child around is horrifying. I do not have kids. However, that kid is lucky he was not seriously injured in the fall and the subsequent dragging around. As a nurse in the ER, I am surprised the child did not have more injuries. My boyfriend tried to do the "he was protecting him" claims until he saw the video I watched of the kid getting dragged around in the very shallow water.

The debate also would have been switched if the child had been seriously injured and the zoo waited for sedating the animal.

South Park also had a perfect video for this. Hindsight is 20/20. In the moment, people make decisions that can affect other people. It is life or death. You don't have time to sit there.

Maybe the child should have been watched closer. Maybe the child should have been on a leash and it wouldn't have crawled into the enclosure. Maybe this. Maybe that. It is easy to look at an event afterwards and judge.

However, the zoo made the right choice in the situation. It is a child's life. We inherently place more emphasis on human life than other animals. There is no question about that.
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Re: Gorilla shot dead after boy falls into enclosure - June 5th 2016, 10:40 PM

A classic no-win situation. Zoos are an archaic relic of a less-civilized point in modern society, and humanity has no business keeping wild animals captive, but I digress.

With any luck, the mother of this child will be charged with neglect and child endangerment, and the kid will be taken away from her (a hefty fine would be nice too). As for the zoo, they should seriously reevaluate protocol for unauthorized entrance to any and all enclosures before they even consider adding more exhibits or animals to any section. The only thing worse than living in captivity is to live AND die in it.


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Re: Gorilla shot dead after boy falls into enclosure - June 6th 2016, 12:16 AM

This was a really good article for me on this topic... It's so easy to blame the mom, but I can't even imagine her total fear and helplessness seeing a gorilla handle her son like that... This article also has a witness account of what actually happened. I watched the actual video, and it made me sick. The gorilla was running the kid through the shallow water, and the whole time you just hear the mom scream "Mommy's here, you're okay, you're okay" trying to keep the child calm and not screaming. Heartbreaking. You have to imagine that even if the gorilla wasn't acting particularly aggressive, we are talking about a 400 pound gorilla handling a 40 pound child... Poor gorilla just didn't know its own strength. It's extremely sad, and it's okay to be sad... But there would be a complete outrage if the child was seriously harmed. The child's family is not pressing charges to the zoo, which I think says a lot.

I think it's astounding that the enclosure was made that it was possible to fall into?? Should not be possible in my very uneducated opinion. I think the bigger problem is just zoos in general... Why are we enclosing animals for our own viewing pleasure??

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