Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Gorilla Choices

The boy fell into the gorilla cage. The gorilla got the boy, gently it seemed, but dragged him clumsily.

The gorilla was beautiful. Magnificent even. However, the gorilla had to die. There was no other choice in this case. Perhaps the gorilla would have protected the boy. One "animal expert" said the gorilla did not thump his chest and was protecting the child. Another, Jack Hanna, said that the gorilla would have killed the boy. No one actually knows, and that's the true basis for what happened: the gorilla had to be killed, because know one could possibly know what would happen otherwise.

If there were any hesitation on the part of the zoo, and the boy got his neck snapped, even unintentionally, that would be inexcusable. I would have done the same, and killed the animal immediately. Then I would have cried all the way home. It's a heartbreaking job.

Culpability for the death of an animal is different than culpability for the death of a child. But it must be assessed and assigned. Both the parents and the zoo seem to share in this. Some precocious children can climb quite well. But there are fence designs that can prevent topping out, such as with an inverted J at the top, pointing outward. The fencing must be examined and improved somehow. But how is it that a parent could not stop or did not stop a climbing toddler?

Regardless of culpability, no one wanted this to happen. It's a terrible tragedy that could have even been much worse.

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