It’s the shot heard ‘round the online world. Harambe, a 17-year-old western lowland gorilla, who until only a few days ago lived at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, was shot and killed by zoo staff after a young boy made his way into the enclosure — and the internet immediately exploded.
Social media was set ablaze with many criticizing the zoo for killing a gorilla who wasn’t at fault — though the zoo team explained that a tranquilizer wouldn’t have sedated the 400-pound gorilla right away, so he could’ve reacted violently and hurt the child — and slamming the parents for paying such little attention that their child could make his way to the critically endangered animal in the first place.
Naturally, a “Justice for Harambe” petition has popped up, “[encouraging] the Cincinnati Zoo, Hamilton County Child Protection Services, and Cincinnati Police Department [to] hold the parents responsible.” Hundreds of thousands have signed the petition thus far, already well on its way to the 500,000-signature goal.
In fact, the petition gets into the parents-at-fault angle pretty severely. An excerpt from the Change.org petition is below.
It is believed that the situation was caused by parental negligence and the zoo is not responsible for the child’s injuries and possible trauma.We the undersigned want the parents to be held accountable for the lack of supervision and negligence that caused Harambe to lose his life. We the undersigned feel the child’s safety is paramount in this situation. We believe that this negligence may be reflective of the child’s home situation. We the undersigned actively encourage an investigation of the child’s home environment in the interests of protecting the child and his siblings from further incidents of parental negligence that may result in serious bodily harm or even death.
We’ll see what happens.