We recently discussed the tragedy in Chile where a man sought to commit suicide by jumping into a lion enclosure at the zoo — resulting in two lions being shot and killed to protect him. Now in Cincinnati, a parent failed to properly supervise her 4-year-old son who fell into gorilla enclosure. Even though the lowland gorilla did not seem to be trying to hurt the child, he was nevertheless killed to guarantee the safety of the child. Many commentators have called for the parents to be prosecuted for the loss of Harambe.
The four-year-old boy was hospitalized after the incident.
The Cincinnati police, along with the fire department, responded to the call of a boy falling into the enclosure. First responders reported that they “witnessed a gorilla … violently dragging and throwing the child.”
They decided to kill Harambe even though some insisted that the rare western lowland gorilla seemed to be protecting the child.
Lt. Steve Saunders, spokesman for the Cincinnati Police Department, said no charges have been brought against the child’s parents. However, zoo officials have not yet spoken with the family of the child who fell into the habitat. Witnesses said that the boy kept saying that he wanted to go into the enclosure.
There could still be both criminal and civil liability. Even if the parents are not deemed to have acted criminally, there still remains the question of whether the parents should be financially liable for negligence leading to the death of this rare gorilla.