The horrifying tragedy that occurred yesterday at Cincinnati Zoo, is leaving the public fuming mad at the parents of the baby Isaiah, who fell 10-12ft into a moat in the Gorilla Exhibit on May 29, 2016. The video footage is mouth dropping, heart wrenching, and just unbearable. You can literally hear the screams of the zoo visitors and the mother of the child saying “Mommy is right here…stay calm. mommy loves you.” Then you hear the shrill scream of the child. The baby fell into about 1ft of water and was pulled by his legs for a reported 10 minutes before the Dangerous Animal Response team responded and had to put the 400lb plus 17-year-old gorilla Harambe down. Two other females gorillas left when Isaiah fell in. Harambe didn’t and curled the baby. Harambe was reportedly shot to death while the baby was in between his legs.
Mrs. Erika Fleury is the Program Manager at the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance. She is also the author of Monkey Business: A History of Nonhuman Primate Rights. Erika is a consultant to primate sanctuaries, and as Program Manager,she is the main point of contact for the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (NAPSA), a coalition of eight of the leading primate sanctuaries on the continent who care for over 650 nonhuman primates retired from biomedical research, the entertainment industry, and the exotic pet trade. Erika Fleury Mrs. Fleury has said, in the case of this matter that:
“This is a tragedy for all involved – the child, the zoo staff and the gorilla. From Harambe’s point of view, there was a child trespassing in his home, which has the potential to stir any number of reactions from a wild animal… Every facility has its own policy on how to proceed during such an unexpected event, and that zoo’s policy was to put the gorilla down. Tranquilizers take 10-20 minutes to take effect and its usage could have caused Harambe to become agitated and more dangerous to the child.” – Erika Fleury – Program Manager, North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance
The video footage is indeed disturbing to watch. I had to do little by little, but I think people should be aware of the dangers and just what could happen when you tune your back on a little child for a moment. Please be advised the video may contain some contents you may find disturbing. You can hear the mother saying “Mommy is right here”….”I love you”…and “stay calm Isaiah.” I can’t believe she was that calm myself….or the child for that matter.
“I think anytime wild animals are kept in captivity we need to make sure enclosure are sufficient. Animals will always act like animals, and unfortunately this proves that humans act in unexpected ways at times. We need to ensure that barriers are strong and effective enough to protect both the humans and the captive animals.” – Erika Fleury Program Manager, North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance
Zoo Director Thane Maynard was on the scene with the press giving his reactions of the days events. Harambe was not attacking the child, we now know as Isaiah, but looked like he was handling the child how he would a baby of his own. The 400lb gorilla was seen as a threat and Zoo Director Thane Maynard said “The Zoo’s Dangerous Animal Response team felt the boy was in a “life threatening situation. They made a tough choice, but they made the right choice…” “It has the proper ending.” A mother who was there at the scene said, “…the poor animal even looked like he wanted to protect the child.” How sad. Animal lovers around the world are mourning the animal after this sad event, but relieved and thankful the baby boy was not harmed. The headline of this story could have read something far more worse.
 Erika Fleury – Prog. Mngr. NAPSA