Click here to see the Fox segment with Mireya Mayor, Primatologist with National Geographic, http://video.foxnews.com/v/4921265310001/why-didnt-the-cincinnati-zoo-tranquilize-the-gorilla/?#sp=show-clips
There is no question that the loss of this gorilla’s life is a tragedy. I do, however, think the zoo made the correct decision to shoot the gorilla. A tranquilizer would have likely only aggravated the situation causing the gorilla to injure or kill the child as it does not take effect immediately. The zoo staff had minutes to make this drastic decision, one they are trained for, and hope they never have to employ.
I don’t believe the gorilla wanted to hurt the little boy. If he did, he would have done so instantly. This of course makes his death even harder to accept.
Yes, gorillas are known as Gentle Giants. I’ve had the honor of spending countless years with them in the wild and they are indeed gentle and loving creatures who take great care of their little ones. Having said that, they are incredibly large and powerful creatures capable of crushing a coconut with their bare hands. I have risked my life several times over trying to protect animals in the wild, including gorillas. But if that were my child, I would want them to do the same thing.
I watched the video. Repeatedly. I agree the gorilla seems almost protective of the little boy, as they have been in previous instances like this one. However, his posture changes, and his lips pursed as the crowd becomes increasingly loud. He was at that point a very big danger to that little boy. He did what any silverback would do in the wild and began to “display” by picking up the child (in the wild he would have grabbed a branch or a log that neither you or I could carry) and thrashed him through the water. At no point do I believe it was that gorilla’s intent to harm the child, but the sheer force he used to pull him through the water would be enough to injure or even kill that little boy if his head hit the rocks or wall.
My heart is broken that the gorilla had to be killed.
I will also say this… I’m tired of people trying to blame the mother. Because guess what? Parents make mistakes too. Some end more tragically than others. As the mother of 6 little ones, I would be lying if I said that I have not lost track of one of my kids while turning my attention to one of the other ones for a mere second. That’s how quickly you can lose sight of a child. All it takes is a second. There were countless adults around, none of which saw the little boy entering the enclosure. I don’t think it’s fair to villianize the mother despite this very tragic outcome for the gorilla.
People are also trying to point the finger at the zoo. Activists have even gone as far as to say that no gorillas should be in captivity. Yet, how many of those activists have gone and risked their lives to stop poachers from hunting them or loggers from destroying their habitat.
If you’re angry, then take this as an opportunity to do something in honor of Harimbe. Start a fund in his honor, donate to the Dian Fossey Fund or other organizations actually doing something more than pointing a finger. It’s very easy in these tragic situations to need to blame someone or to become enraged. Let’s not let him die in vain and help his counterparts in the wild.
Did you hear about the shooting at UCLA today? My first thought was that a week ago my four year old was there with his school for a book fair for kids. My point is that we really have no control, we can do our best, but ultimately sometimes crazy things happen. My oldest child was and still is a runner with his own mind, I will save the details for another blog how I lost him three times. This leads me to all of this gorilla vs. child response, and parent blaming, these three articles clearly state my point of view.
On another note, I am just coming off of a 24 hour Doula shift, on and off, but definitely on mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I did get a really solid eight hours of sleep last night, and was looking forward to take Yoga class with my teacher this morning. My husband went with me, he likes to swim, and I am happy to start making this a regular part of our week. Monday hiking with my husband, Tuesday strength training for me in the best class ever, Bodypump, right before I teach Pilates at the gym. Then while I do Yoga on Wednesday my husband will swim.
Now let’s talk about age, and eveyrone’s unique path, and a Doctor who honors that. As a Doula, my goal is to support the mother completely, in her choices and decisions, there is not one way to labor and birth.
I am looking for suggestions for a very awkward family situation.
This is a very long story but I’ll try to cover just the highlights. Growing up, my single mom remarried when I was 10. Her husband was a horrible mean drunk, for years not working and very verbally abusive to me and my siblings. He was often physical with her as well. She was very unhappy but feared leaving him and more so I think just didn’t want to deal with it. Many times when he was drunk he threatened to kill her if she ever tried. I was a young teen and most vocal and protective of my mom so my stepfather and I did not get along well to say the least. She had 3 children with him. He was decent to his kids and as we all got older and I moved out, he mellowed some, was working, and we all worked to just keep the peace for my moms sake. My mom was diagnosed with cancer when I was 14. My little siblings were just infants / toddlers at the time. She was thought to be in remission. When I was 25, she was rediagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Sadly she died a couple years later (2007), when I was pregnant with my first child. It was a horrible loss for me and my siblings. My young siblings were only 16, 15 and 13. My stepfather could not handle the loss. His drinking – as impossible as it seemed to get worse – did. The situation became dangerous for my siblings, now alone with him and him taking them to school drunk at 6am. I made a promise to my mom that I would watch out for my young siblings so we intervened and after a long CPS process, adopted my siblings. My stepfather agreeably gave up his parental rights. He was always worried only about him and his loss…never his kids. We tried to keep him active in their lives out of compassion- inviting him for holidays etc even though it was horribly awkward for me as I felt NO love for him even after 20 years in my life. After couple years, he vanished from their lives and didn’t so much as call for birthdays or holidays. We lost touch.
Two years ago, we heard from him. He had lost everything – his half of everything he inherited as my moms husband, the family home, his cars – everything. He was literally living on skid row, unshowered, hungry. It was horrifically sad. My brother – also his stepchild who he was awful too- took him in thinking he could help rehabilitate him and get him back on his feet. Instead, he’s been staying with him 2 years and making no effort to get work, move out, is disgustingly dirty, not showering etc. My brother has told him for months now he planned to move and my stepdad needed to make other arrangements. No progress or effort was ever made. A few days ago, my stepfather had an unexplained issue with his foot. It swelled and he couldn’t walk. It only got worse over the last 2 days and he was taken via ambulance to the hospital last night. Of course he has no insurance. My brothers plan is to continue with his move and not allow my stepdad back…. We’ve been checking on his condition, and it looks like his foot will need to be amputated. It’s an incredibly messed up situation. If he has no insurance and no where to go, what will happen? I don’t want him to end up on the streets, in a wheelchair, nor can I take him in. Are there any resources for someone in this situation? What would you do?
His 3 children are all technically adults now but barely able to support themselves and/ or living out of state (post college).
Do your best,
We can only do our best,