Harambe: More than a meme

Harambe: More than a meme

Sonja Paulson, Animal Specialist

By looking at the name of this article, you are probably thinking “Oh god, I thought we were done with this Harambe stuff.” However, the memes created after the death of harambe is not what I am here to talk about.

Harambe’s death became very controversial soon after his death. His death brought out whether or not the child’s life was in danger, and if Harambe’s death was the fault of the distracted mother. Whether you think Harambe’s death is justified or not, his death was a big loss for Western Lowland Gorillas. His species are considered to be critically endangered, with only about 100,000 left in the world. Harambe was transferred to the Cincinnati Zoo in 2014 with intentions of him breeding with the other female gorillas. His kind take a long time to breed, so unfortunately Harambe was not able to reproduce as planned.

Many people questioned the mother of the child after Harambe’s death and demanded that the parents be held responsible for Harambe’s death, and charged with parental neglect. An online petition was created, titled “Justice for Harambe” and it mentions that the child had talked about wanting to climb into the moat surrounding the enclosure. This should have been a warning to the parents about the child trying to get in the enclosure, and they should have proceeded to remove the child from the exhibit. However, that did not happen and Harambe’s life is now gone because of it.

After Harambe’s death, the Cincinnati Zoo added more barriers surrounding the enclosure, including an additional 42 inches were added on top of the previous barrier, and solid wood beams were included in the rope netting. Harambe’s death brought attention to both the parental neglect and the endangered Western Lowland Gorilla. Hopefully in the future, parents will be more observant of their children so that animals don’t lose their lives.