To the mostly well-meaning people who have objected – some furiously – to the euthanizing of “Handsome Harabe”, the Cincinnati zoo’s gorilla, which unexpectedly found itself in possession of a four year old child:

What would you have wanted the zoo to do if that were your child?

According to the zoo, its personnel tried to distract him and that did not work.

Tranquilizing him would have taken several minutes, during which he could have done anything to the child.

And if Handsome Harambe had hurt, severely mutilated or killed the child, how many of you would be screaming that he should have been euthanized for precisely the reasons listed above?

With the greatest of regret that this animal had to be put down, I commend the Cincinnati zoo for doing so.

Euthanizing Handsome Harambe was the only choice it had.


  • Exactly.
    The four year old boy climbed under the railing, through fencing and was on top of the moat wall. He then fell 12 or 15 feet into the moat.
    These habitat (non-cage) enclosures have walls, moats, etc to keep the animals from escaping; not to protect humans from their own stupidity.
    Or the stupidity of parents who are careful about car seats, holding hands while crossing streets — but not about excited children zoo situations.

  • Ken, you are lucky you have reasonable people at your blog. Some of the comments I have been reading at other sites are beyond crazy.

    • The mother’s negligence (which I do not dispute) doesn’t tell us a thing about what the gorilla was doing…or about what the gorilla might have done just seconds later – especially if it reacted badly to being shot with a tranquilizer. This was a terrible situation, in which there were no good choices.

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