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ANTH 001 De Anza College Death of A Gorilla in Cincinnati Zoo Discussion

ANTH 001 De Anza College Death of A Gorilla in Cincinnati Zoo Discussion

Question Description

Prompt 1

In May 2016, a 3 year old boy climbed into a gorilla enclosure at Cincinnati Zoo. The child repeatedly tried to get into the gorilla enclosure, and eventually managed to climb a 3 foot tall fence before falling 15 feet into shallow water. The zookeepers immediately tried to get the gorillas to return inside. The two females returned, but the 440 lb male Harambe was curious and climbed down to see the child. Commotion and screaming from onlookers agitated the gorilla, and he began to drag the child through the water. It is unclear whether the gorilla was likely to harm the child. He seemed inquisitive, if anything. However, the zoo officials feared for the child’s safety, so they made the decision to shoot and kill the gorilla rather than use tranquilizers. Zoo officials argued that tranquilizers could take 5-10 minutes before taking effect, and the gorilla could severely harm or kill the child before then.

A YouTube video documenting the incident went viral, and a petition with over 10,000 signatures called for the boy’s parents to be held accountable for the gorilla’s death. The parents were harassed over social media. Police investigated possible criminal charges against the parents, but they did not end up facing any charges. The zoo also experienced backlash over their handling of the incident. This incident sparked debate about the ethics of zoos and holding primates in captivity. Primates (apes, especially) are highly intelligent and socially aware animals. Keeping animals in captivity is an entire issue in itself, but holding primates in captivity adds another layer to this debate. Ape species share many emotional and cognitive similarities with humans, and many don’t respond to captivity well. Apes are currently ranked as endangered or critically endangered due to poaching, exotic animal trade, bushmeat trade, and habitat destruction. Many argue that even if zoos didn’t hold apes in captivity, they wouldn’t exactly be in a better situation in their natural habitat. Is it better to attempt to save the species from extinction by holding it in captivity?

If you want to see the video footage: Boy Falls into Gorilla Enclosure at Cincinnati Zoo (Original HD) || ViralHog (Links to an external site.)

Q: Did the zoo make the right decision? What are your thoughts on the primate captivity debates?

Answer about 8 sentences

And comment 2 other students posts for about 5 sentences each.

Student 1:

I think the zoo made the wrong decision. The lives of gorillas and humans are equally important, and apes are now listed as endangered species, shooting them is illegal. The main reason for this happened is the little boy, so why should the gorilla be punished for him? In fact, if possible, zoo officials can inject sedatives into the gorillas and use food or other items to divert the gorilla’s attention. In this way, it not only protects the gorilla from being shot, but also saves the little boy. All in all, I totally disagree that the gorilla died of someone else ’s fault, which is unfair to animals. This approach of the zoo is actually telling everyone that human life is more precious than animal life, which is very wrong.

I agree to captive primates, because this is one of the ways to maximize the protection of the rate of extinction of endangered species. If you do not control the living space of primates, human injury and environmental pollution will accelerate their rate of extinction. First, captivity is premised on the protection of endangered animals, because every living thing in the world is precious, and the extinction of one living thing will make the biological chain lack a certain part, so the ecology will be unbalanced. There are still many people in the world who kill endangered animals for illegal trade. If they cannot be protected as much as possible, these endangered animals will soon become extinct in the world. In fact, the most important thing is that captivity can also improve the survival rate of offspring of endangered animals. If endangered animals breed offspring in the wild, their pups may be in danger of being eaten.

Student 2:

I remember this whole situation happening back in high school in my sophomore year, someone graffitied “Free Harambe” on top of our clock where everyone could see in the quad. I personally don’t think that the zoo made the right choice. Harambe was curious and was confused. He wasn’t used to seeing a small child in his captivity. Obviously the yelling, the screaming, and all the unnecessary noise irritated him. In the video, Harambe drags the child, and more yelling occurs. Obviously, as a mother, you would yell, but these people didn’t consider that the yelling would aggravate him. Around the one minute mark into the video, Harambe is just starring at the crowd, he gently lifts the child up, If Harambe wanted to harm the child, he would have. As said in the description of this assignment, apes are very highly intelligent and socially aware, and Harambe did display that. Harambe was acting upon the yelling and could sense the fear of the people. I believe the parents were very irresponsible by not watching their three-year-old child. How could you let your 3-year-old climb a 3-foot tall fence? To me, that’s just irresponsible.

I believe all animal captivity is wrong. I am against zoo’s and especially Sea World. It’s wrong to hold these animals in captivity where they don’t belong. Although they try to “mimic” their original habitat, it really isn’t the same for them. These animals aren’t living their lives fully and the right way due to having to be on display for us humans. Primate captivity is morally wrong.


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