On May 28, curious four-year-old Isaiah Gregg crawled through the barriers of the gorilla enclosure in the Cincinnati Zoo, Ohio. Upon seeing this, the zookeepers lured the two female gorillas out, but male gorilla Harambe remained in the water.
This 17-year-old Western lowland silverback gorilla didn’t even notice the child until it heard him splashing in the water. Harambe ran to the child and dragged him across the water by the ankle, as his head banged against the concrete floors. A zoo employee shot the gorilla with a rifle when the child was in between his legs. The officials then unlocked the gate and firefighters quickly retrieved the child. This entire ordeal occurred within a 10-minute time period.
Although this was an unfortunate death for the ape, the child’s life was saved. He was hospitalized and later released without major injuries. A few days ago, Isaiah’s family was awaiting the conclusion on potential criminal charges because the mother neglected to keep an eye on her son.
However, charges were not filed after a Hamilton County, Ohio, prosecuting attorney Joseph Deters said today, “this could happen to even the most attentive parent.”
First of all, it is surprising to me that something like this even happened. The boy climbed through the three-foot metal fence, went through the four-feet-tall bushes, and jumped into the gorilla moat 15 feet below. According to Isaiah’s mother, anyone who knows her can vouch that she is a very “attentive mother” and only looked away for a second. A second? Really? Heck, I wouldn’t even be able to get through that barrier in a minute. Is this the same “be there in a second” we tell people when we really mean 5-10 minutes?
Seems to me like this kid was Jackie Chan’s son. I am pretty sure four-year-olds are old enough to at least comprehend that crawling into the gorilla exhibit for playtime is far from okay.
The mother, Michelle Gregg, was obviously occupied with four children to take care of. It’s often so easy to blame someone when we haven’t gone through the same situation. But criminal charges? I think that is a bit much for some “parental negligence” as they call it. Regardless, something more could have been done from both sides to prevent this. Now it is just a lesson for us to be ready to pounce on our children the second they stray at the zoo.
Harambe turned 17 at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden on Friday, May 27. The zoo celebrated his birthday and the very next day, zoo employees killed the critically endangered ape.
Why? Harambe acted like a gorilla.
What are your views on this case? Let me know in the comments below.