Mother of Gorilla Toddler Gets Parenting Called Into Question

gorillas, gorilla, animals

The gorilla's unfortunate death has sparked conversation of respect for wildlife and heavy debate on whether the boy's parents should have been more attentive.

1. The Parent's of the 3-Year-Old Have Been Criticized for Their Parenting

The Short of It:

Police have launched a criminal investigation into the endangered gorilla named Harambe who was shot after a boy slipped past the gorilla's exhibit barrier and tumbled into his moat.

The Longer Version of It:

By now everyone's heard about the 3-year-old boy that fell into the gorilla Harambe's exhibit in Cincinnati over the weekend. Wednesday morning, Cincinnati police revealed that that they had started an investigation that will look into the action of the boy's family leading up to the incident. Witnesses and authorities have said the boy's mother was with her son when he fell into the enclosure.

"If it is determined charges need to be brought forward, we would then discuss it with the Hamilton County prosecutor's office," police spokeswoman Tiffaney Hardy said.

Zoo officials opted to shoot Harambe, a endangered 400-pound male western lowland silverback gorilla, after an encounter that lasted approximately 10 minutes on Saturday in which the boy was dragged by the gorilla. "In an agitated situation, it may take quite a while for the tranquilizer to take effect," the Cincinnati Zoo Director, Thane Maynard said in a statement Saturday. "At the instant he would be hit [with a tranquilizer], he would have a dramatic response. You don't hit him and he falls over."

Just before police announced their investigation, the family released an update on the 3-year-old's status.

"Our child has had a checkup by his doctor and is still doing well," said the statement. "We continue to praise God for His grace and mercy, and to be thankful to the Cincinnati Zoo for their actions taken to protect our child."

The family has been offered donations by those offering their support and concern but asked that all who wished to offer their support redirect their gifts and contributions to the Cincinnati Zoo in Harambe's name.

Within just a couple of days of Harambe's death, a Facebook group called "Justice for Harambe" received over 100,000 "likes". As of today, a petition asking for an investigation into the parents had over 400,000 signatures.

The Takeaway:

Zoos are not playgrounds. The killing of the endangered gorilla was indeed a devastating event. According to reports from bystanders, the child was with his mother and a few other children. Many question whether or not a keener eye on the mother's part could have prevented the tragedy, or whether the zoo could have taken better precautions to prevent the occurrence. It's imperative for parents and adults looking after children to remember that zoos aren't giant parks for kids but actual homes for wildlife. Just as animal conservationist Jeff Corwin expressed over the weekend, "The zoo is not your babysitter."


Along with your friends on FB who are calling out the zoo's officials and doling out statuses of their opinions on how to parent one's child at a zoo, animal rights activists have broken out in protest over the incident with a #JusticeforHarambe hashtag.

The Parent's of the 3-Year-Old Have Been Criticized for Their Parenting