Gorilla With Human Emotions Who Tried To Protect Boy Should Never Have Been Killed


Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 6.34.26 AMWith all that we have learned about Gorilla communication throughout the years  and how intelligent  and loving they are and how they can communicate with humans via sign language, I am devastated  by  the murder of Harambe a 17 year old Silverback Gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo. Gorillas have  similar emotions  to humans as we have learned from researchers and Koko, the famous  signing Gorilla. It must have been  emotionally devastating for Harambe  in his final moments when he realized a gun was pointing at him.

He was not harming the child even though he picked  up the child .

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Most likely he was moving the child away to protect the child. This was not a Gorilla who had a history of violence,.He was most likely doing what the famous sign language Gorilla did  with her pet kitten and that was to comfort it.

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Apparently the child was running around  and fell into to Gorilla’s habitat. It is unconscionable that a beautiful animal is dead as a result of a mother’s negligence of her wild child. The child who was 4 should have been taught better and should not have been running around unsupervised. Even though the child was in the Gorilla’s space there was no indication that the boy was being harmed.

It was an ignorant Zoo worker who made that call  and used firearms which caused the Gorilla to die.

Let’s say for argument’s sake that  the boy was being harmed. Why use a weapon to kill the beautiful anima?. Why not use a tranquilizer gun? Why not use medicine instead of bullets?

The whole ordeal  particularly sickens me in that I have  studied animal communication throughout my career. As a result,  I  know how Gorilla’s think and communicate.

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Look at this photo above, Look at how a gorilla is able to express their emotions and to express their needs.They not only do it when they are trained, they do it naturally, in the wild . That is how they communicate with one another.


One of the most extraordinary experiences I had when I was visiting the Tsavo in Kenya was witnessing  a baboon using sign language when she encountered tourists on a bus  where she  signed ” Feed me”.


I was fortunate enough to have documented this incident in photos which I have now framed and hung in my office to always remind me how we are all one and how communication is the essence of life.

While that was a Baboon, Gorillas also communicate without being taught sign language as they do it with one another in the wild.

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They can even paint and have their own sense of creativity and art as you can see in this photo above.

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Critics on social media have blamed the mother, which is justified in my view. Discussion is that she will have to pay for what happened. But she is not alone in this mess. The Zoo should be held accountable ,along with the person who used a real gun as opposed to a tranquilizer gun.There is no excuse for this. There should have been a plan in effect for a situation like this which would arise where a tranquilizer gun is kept near the habitat for such emergencies.

I am almost certain that the Cincinnati Zoo will lose revenue for this horrific incident as many people have reported that they would boycott the zoo and never go there again.I can’t blame them.

I am not a fan of zoos with the exception of the San Diego Zoo where the animals are allowed to roam free. I love going there and seeing how the giraffe’s hang out with other creatures.  That in my view is the only  way  to have a zoo. RIP Harambe.





9 thoughts on “Gorilla With Human Emotions Who Tried To Protect Boy Should Never Have Been Killed

  1. This was tragic but unavoidable. They could not use tranquilizers as they do not take effect quickly enough in an animal of this size and after being shot the gorilla would have gotten more agitated. The child was in danger and not because Harambe wanted to kill him but due to his size/strength and becoming disoriented. If you watch the video, the little boy is hitting his head on the concrete while being dragged and tossed about. It is so very sad but they could not let the child be killed.


  2. Wow. Just wow. Two things are very very wrong with what you are saying. The first is that he wasn’t even hurting the child. The own zookeepers themselves said that they were seeing aggressive body language from the gorilla. These are people who have known this specific gorilla for years. Another zoo keeper Amanda O’ Donoughue who has been working with gorillas since her twenties also said he was displaying violent behavior. Also, you mentioned they should have used a tranquilizer gun. Any person who knows how a tranquilizer gun works on huge animals knows that they get really aggressive when you do it and it takes minutes to take effect. So where are your sources that say he was totally calm? Let me guess, the liberal media right. See I consult experts on these manners. Sure they have human-like emotion but they are still wild animals. When a child’s safety is involved, there really is only one choice. Which brings me to my second point: Anyone who believes in saving an animal’s life over a child’s life has absolutely no credibility to even talk. Do you realize what you are saying here? I am actually going to take a minute and research some things gorillas do when they are aggressive. They bite and maul, and use their extreme strength to destroy things and other animals. So, you are saying that you would have rather let a 4 year old boy be mauled and torn apart potentially then to shoot the gorilla. I cannot even begin to fathom where your mind is to even suggest that. But I have to say, it is surprising the following that has been given to this, the candlelight vigils, the huge “Cecil the lion” following that has come over the woodworks all with your same exact viewpoint due to misinformation. Look at the many other videos of gorillas tearing apart other animals and picture a 4 year old child in its place. Yes it is sad that this situation had to happen, but some positives have come out of this. Because of this, more zoos are looking into other ways to maintain safety of guests and animals to prevent this from ever happening again. And also responding to what you said, there are emergency plans and situations for this and the zoo executed it perfectly. It took great courage in my view to shoot down an animal you know so well to save an anonymous child’s life. I suggest you do more research instead of posting such a naïve and dumb post very clearly displaying your liberal politics and lack of knowledge on the subject.

    In closing, I suggest you read this article:


    1. Zookeepers may say this in order to protect themselves. Zoos are pretty big business and now there are legal issues involved here. There have been other specialists who have reported that the gorilla was being protective. And as far as a tranquilizer gun is concerned , maybe they need to develop one that takes effect immediately as part of their plan to change things without sacrificing an animal. My post is not dumb nor maive. My view just differs from yours so there is no need to name call and become ugly “heartznhugz”. For the moniker which you have you certainly show no heart or hugs in your comment. Also you have no idea what my politics are so don’t date assume anything. You have no clue whether I am liberal or conservative or in the middle. I am not a political person for your information and I never express my political opinions. My belief involves not killing an innocent animal and has nothing to do with anything political. Yo assume that is dumb ( tot use your words) your part .While we can agree to disagree I strongly suggest that you take your hate and ugliness elsewhere. And as far as Cecil the Lion is concerned, I feel that his killing was wrong as well and that has nothing to do with any media- liberal or otherwise. And I suggest you read this article


      1. Developing a medicine that takes effect immediately would be impossible. It would kill you. When an animal or human is sedated, you need that short time before you pass out completely. The only way that could be done is with an oxygen mask.


      2. Erin,
        And no, dr glass post is not dumb.
        It’s called freedom of expression and speach.
        Please learn to debate with out insulting people.


  3. Thank you, Dr. Glass.

    I don’t know if killing the poor gorilla was necessary, but I do know that the zoo keeper was worried that the child would be hurt. My guess is that zoo management did what it thought it needed to do to keep the child safe and avoid a lawsuit. My sympathies lie with the person who had to do the killing, Harambe’s pen mates, and the zoo keepers who loved him.

    The child’s mother is a different story. Harambe died because she failed to care for her child long enough for him to climb a three foot barrier and fall into the moat. She then “thanked God” for saving him and did not apologize for her lack of responsibility.

    The newspapers are full of stories about “parent shaming” and the outcries against her. They don’t seem to understand that what she did was gravely wrong, and Harambe paid for it.

    If you can’t control four kids at a zoo, either don’t have four kids or don’t take them to the zoo. That is what parental responsibility is.


  4. Actually, if you ever witnessed an animal being tranquilized and not on TV, they hallucinate and flip out before they pass out. He could have unknowingly harmed the child until the meds took effect.


  5. And, the zoo needed a better barrier.

    Both parties being the patent and zoo are at fault. Their enclosures are not up to par– the same zoo a few months ago had two polar bears get out of their enclosures.


  6. Even Jane Goodall said that the right thing to do was shoot him and not attempt to tranquilize him for all the reasons already mentioned.

    Also, no, not a single ape has been shown to use sign langage. They have been found to use gestures, in that they associate a sign with an object or possibly an action, like “eat” can either be food or actual “feed me”. The woman who works with Koko has done “web chats” where she gave nonsense answers to questions, and that woman pretended the answers meant something. People other than this woman have attempted to teach apes to sign and none of them have managed to do so. They only learn gestures, which are the signs without accompanying things like grammar. Additionally, the only person who ever understands what Koko says is this woman, and she refuses to teach anyone else the language that the gorilla uses. Koko has never once asked a question, either, another sign (hah) that she doesn’t use her signs as a language. She just uses the gestures the way that you can teach many animals to associate a sign with an object or an action. There’s tons on the web about this, easy to find, and you can read the nonsense transcripts on Koko’s very own site as well. Koko’s caretaker has also never published anything about her success in teaching a language, and because of how she won’t let other researchers study things and is not objective, nothing Koko has learned can actually be used for any study of language acquisition. That and how Koko doesn’t actually respond when someone signs to her, even using “Koko signs”.


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