Target: Thane Maynard, Cincinnati Zoo President
Goal: Make reparations for death of critically endangered gorilla by implementing protections to prevent additional tragedies.
A critically endangered Western lowland gorilla, Harambe, was shot and killed by zookeepers at the Cincinnati Zoo following an incident in which an unattended child fell into the animal’s habitat. Zoo president Thane Maynard admitted that the child “was not under attack,” but that the gorilla was killed because the child was “at risk.” Many have demanded to know why the animal was not shot with a tranquilizer, a response that could have removed the child from potential danger while preserving the life of the gorilla. Zoo officials have failed to offer an acceptable explanation.
Western lowland gorillas are broadly categorized as critically endangered, with an estimated 125,000 living in the world today. That the survival and well-being of every gorilla is of crucial importance to the future of the species as a whole makes the killing of Harambe even more incomprehensible. Worse, the senseless death of this particular animal will almost certainly engender negative impacts on the other gorillas in his family structure.
The Cincinnati Zoo acted rashly in its killing of Harambe, and action must be taken to ensure that additional tragedies do not occur. Though no action on the part of the zoo could ever make up for this animal’s lost life, future steps for the zoo should include an apology, reparations in the form of a sizeable contribution to a dedicated gorilla conservation group, and the institution of safety measures to prevent future accidents of this type. Demand that the Cincinnati Zoo hold themselves accountable for this irreversible, tragic error.
Dear Zoo President Thane Maynard,
We are shocked and appalled at the death of Harambe, the critically endangered Western lowland gorilla that lived for years at the Cincinnati Zoo. Though we understand that responders were concerned for the child’s safety, it is outrageous that persons with such responsibilities as this job requires were not properly equipped to respond without resorting to deadly force. Had the animal been shot with a tranquilizer dart, the child would have been removed from danger and the animal would still be living.
We, the undersigned, understand that every gorilla’s life is sacred and crucial to the survival of the species as a whole, and we know that Harambe’s death will likely negatively impact his family group. We ask that you hold yourselves accountable for Harambe’s death by committing to a public apology and sizeable donation to a committed gorilla conservation group. We hope that you will also implement an extensive safety plan to prevent future accidents of the kind that resulted in this senseless killing.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Brocken Inaglory