Who’s To Blame For The Cincinnati Zoo Incident?

Jalen Flaherty, Staff Writer




This silverback gorilla was a new visitor at the Cincinnati Zoo when a horrible accident occurred. As a four year old little boy fell into the gorilla enclosure due to some irresponsible parents, the little boy was met face to face with Harambe, a gorilla 6 times the size of this little boy.

Now, if you have been paying attention at all to the news or any social media sites you will know that the child is alive and Harambe is not.

If you haven’t seen it already, there is a video displaying the incident (most of the popular videos only contain the short 5 seconds that Harambe dragged the little boy underwater). The zoo’s staff attempted to move people out of the way but there was already a crowd of people around the enclosure entrance taking videos in horror.  

The zoo did finally come to the conclusion of killing the gorilla hoping that there would be a higher chance of the boy leaving the a on lots of controversy to the table.

An abundance of people have come forward trying to put the blame on several organizations. For example a petition was made to Child Services to get the child’s parents looked into.

The issue that stands here is the fact that no one can really find out who to blame in this situation. Is it the parents? The Zoo? Here is what some people are saying:

  1. People are mad at the Cincinnati Zoo for not having enough of a structured barrier to protect anyone for ever getting in.

I’m not necessarily saying that they need to be shut down or anything. However, they need to reevaluate their enclosures to make sure that this never happens again.

2. People are mad at the parents for their “poor parenting”, since their child was able to enter the enclosure without them even noticing. 

In my opinion, these statements are true. No I don’t think the parents are necessarily bad parents however I can’t really understand how you wouldn’t notice a child climbing in there. Although with everything that happened I’m sure the parents are going to be a lot more cautious at the zoo.

On the other side of this however, children can be quite fast and sneaky especially at this boy’s age. So I think most people can say that they aren’t horrible parents but maybe checking up on them and seeing the family dynamic might not be a bad idea.

  1. Animal experts are fighting over the gorillas behavior and whether or not the child was in complete danger or not. 

When watching it doesn’t really look like the child was in extreme danger, however we can’t read the animal’s mind. There isn’t anyway to know what could have happened if the child had stayed in the enclosure any longer.

In the past, gorillas have been known to treat children like their own but they are still wild animals. But with that in mind if Harambe wanted to hurt this kid wouldn’t you think he would have immediately done it or at least act like he was being threatened? In my opinion I don’t think Harambe wanted to hurt the child but he is very large and probably doesn’t properly understand his size next to the toddler.

When asking WHS sophomore Samantha Ball about the situation, she replied, “I think they should have thought about the situation more.”

She continued saying that it was clear to her that the gorilla was not harming the boy at all while he was in the enclosure. “They just pulled a trigger to get out of the situation easier.”

Through all of this research this is a topic still popularly up for debate. But personally I think the blame should be placed on no one. It was a tragic freak accident that now that it has happened needs to be a reminder to be a lot more careful. For the parents to be careful to watch their child. For the zoo to make sure they have secure fencing. For the life of an endangered animal to be taken into more consideration.