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