Sunday, May 29, 2016

Justice for Harambe? Will There Be Changes to Cincinnati Zoo Gorilla Exhibit?

Will Zoos across America, take a hard look at the breach points in enclosures that house Code Red Animals? Sadly I'm going to go with, probably not, but I hope I'm wrong.

I had less than four hours sleep last night.  Stayed up til early this morning, reading through comments on the Cincinnati Facebook Page, responses to News articles, Twitter, Zoo Chat, Reddit.  I went to bed feeling like I was going to vomit, and woke up with tears.  As I wrote in my previous post, this is a subject that hits home.  I am frustrated that there will most likely be no change, both at home, the SFZoo and at other Zoos, like Cincinnati, the place Harambe called home. Everyone should be safe in their home.

The consensus on Social Network forums seems to put the order of responsibility as Parents, Zoo, ... the Animal was not the cause of incident.  That said, what do we do when the rule apparently is, that Humans are a Priority, over all Non-Human Beings, in any circumstance?  Is this right?  This concept escapes me, but that's a different debate.  I firmly believe that no life is worth more than another  just because of Species.  Life fate is based on its value as a responsible and decent being. You dangle your kid over a Rhino enclosure and yell, "here Rhino"  in my eyes you and your kid are of less value than the Rhino.

As a Society of those who believe Humans should take responsibility in their actions, where does that leave us in this battle in a World filled with Humans with no sense or sense of entitlement putting themselves above rule and doing whatever they want to?  Why should anyone, Human or Non-Human, have to pay for others misplaced actions?  

The reality is, Humans should have more sense. I'm personally tired of seeing people get passes for behavior that is offensive in whatever way.  In the case of anyone breaching a barrier to an Animal Exhibit in a Zoo, that is offensive to the respect of the Animal, and to the Trespassing Law.  At least in California.   So, what to do?  

The battle between Human error and Non-Human's paying the price with their life, is upsetting and frustrating. 

Here are some of the questions being batted about on Social Media:

Where was the Mother?
Why wasn't the Kid being watched?
How did the Kid get to an opening in the Exhibit?
Should the Zoo have better barriers?

I expressed my experience in my previous post, and I'm sure anyone who's gone to a Zoo can agree, Visitors abuse the Rules.  I'm not the only one to see people on and over barriers.  I'm not the only one to see people not paying attention to children in their care. ....  I've also expressed barrier issue at San Francisco Zoo.  I'm sure there are same style exhibits all over.  So, what can be done?  How can we make the Zoos Safe for the Animals who live there?  

While I think when you walk through the gates of a Zoo, you assume the responsibility to Behave Responsibly.  Barring an Animal Escape, you are responsible for your safety. Same as if you were at an Amusement Park and the roller coaster went off the rails, that's the problem of the Park.  If you jump out of the roller coaster, that's your problem.  The Zoos responsibility should be to the Animals in its care.  To me, it is backward to think in any other way in the case of exhibit entry. The Zoo is basically the "Parent" of the captive Animal.  That is who they should be responsible for. while many I'm finding might agree, there are many who don't.  So, what do we do? 

There have been several instances near exactly like this in past years.  We tend to only hear about those involving Code Red Animals, but there are too many other instances of barrier abuse (laying, standing on, hanging over) that go undocumented.  The negligence by Zoos to bring this behavior issue to light, and put forth repercussions,  lends to tragedies like yesterdays.  If more Zoos took a stand against these pre-cursor situations, and sent messages that this behavior is not acceptable, there might be less misbehavior and no tragedies.

Some of the incidents have been:

2009- San Francisco Zoo- Man entered Grizzly Bear enclosure.  Bears didn't engage and were safely brought inside.

2012 Pittsburgh Zoo- Mother held kid on railing for better view, lost grip and dropped him into Wild Dog exhibit.  Dog shot dead.

2013- San Francisco Zoo- Man runs through exhibit to by pass paying Admission.

2014- Arkansas Zoo- Child Fell into Jaguar Exhibit while Father leaned over railing to take a photo.

2015 Cleveland Metroparks Zoo- Toddler "fell into Cheetah exhibit after his parents reportedly held him over the railing."  ... In a surprising turn of events CMZ sued the Parents for Child Endangerment.  I haven't heard anything more about the outcome if any to this case.

2015 Omaha Zoo- Woman bitten while trying to Pet Tiger.

2016 Chile Zoo- Man enters Lion Exhibit on suicide mission.  Two Lions shot dead.

It Amazes me that people haven't learned from these incidents.  With the internet in our literal hands these days, there is no reason to not know better.  .. There is also the consideration, when its not an accident, like the Suicide guy.  This guy wants to die, yet two Lions lose their lives instead?  How does any of this make sense?  Yes, ... How does anyone know the factors?  Wonder if we did know? Wonder if known Criminals entered, would they too be saved because they are Human?  So here we are, still at Humans above Animals, regardless.  How do we fix this situation?  Is it to be left solely on the Zoos to make all exhibits entry free? That would be ideal, but I don't see it happening.  Zoos do not seem to want to make any adjustment to their exhibit visions based on dictation of Society misbehavior, unless of course tragedy strikes.  Why do we have to wait for that?  How many Animals have to die?

It seems that each Zoo reacts to their own tragedy.  San Francisco reacted to the Tiger incident by constructing glass and mesh barriers across the entire Big Cat area, five enclosures.  That incident was different than this in the way that Tatiana left the enclosure.  Not different in that she was the victim. Changes were made only because a Human died.  There were no changes to the Bear Grotto barriers after the Man entered the Grizzlies. 

How will Cincinati Zoo react to this barrier breach?  Will there be changes?  

If there is going to be an across the board, Shoot to Kill, Humans first protocol, Cincinnati Zoo and all other Zoos should examine all Exhibits, BUT especially those that house Code Red Animals, Apes, Big Cats, Bears, Rhinos, ect.  and make sure the barriers can not be breached from the public side.  If they aren't going to protect the Animals from the Public with any other actions or rules, they need to protect them by keeping them in a protected environment.

Will Cincinnati Zoo and other Zoos with vulnerable barriers step up and protect the Animals in their Care?


Please Sign and Share this Petition to bring about Harambe's Law.  Don't let his death be for nothing. Help other Animals by supporting the idea that Humans should be held responsible in some way for the actions of their misbehavior.

This is not my Petition but one I support.  Thank you.

1 comment:

  1. Ghandi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

    There mostly likely won't be any changes to Zoos, after the Harambe incident.

    Zoos are trying to make money to stay open and take care of the animals. The animals at the SF Zoo are not treated very well. The Zoo seems to be run in an haphazard manner. They had the opportunity to take precautions that would have prevented the baby gorilla being crushed by a door, but they didn't.

    Human life is more important than an animal's life, as you have stated in your blog. Animals are here for OUR entertainment. Just look at SeaWorld and how they keep whales in captivity. Those whales are prisoners in a small fish tank.

    The majority of parents that take their kids to the SF Zoo are clueless on how they should respect and appreciate these animals. I get so angry when I see kids chase the peacocks around, and the parents do nothing, because they are not educated to know it's wrong to do.

    Instead of building a huge playground space in the SF Zoo, they really should be putting money towards the habitat of these animals.

    In the end, the SF Zoo has to bring in the most people, and what more to please parents by having a big playground for their kids to visit, when they are bored of looking at animals.

    I love visiting the animals at the SF Zoo, but I also feel sad for them. I am sure the animals make the best with the situation they are placed in and appreciate/love their zoo keepers, but I think for the most part they feel confined in their space and bored.

    Unfortunately I don't see change coming.


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