Harambe dragging the child
Harambe dragging the child

Yesterday through various media outlets people began to watch a video of a 4-year-old child who had gotten into the gorilla exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. At times the gorilla seemed to be protecting the child while at other times it was evident the gorilla was a wild animal and was not interested in nor capable of protecting a child. The decision was made to put Harambe down. Harambe was a 450 lb Western Lowland Gorilla. This fact made the decision to end Harambe’s life more painful to the experts because Western Lowland Gorillas are an extremely endangered species with less than 175,000 in the wild and fewer than a 1,000 in captivity. This story has captured our attention and people are not short of opinions on the subject.


Remember this sign is being displayed on Memorial Day
Remember this sign is being displayed on Memorial Day

This group spoke quickly and clearly on the subject. They were appalled that an animal was killed. Some in this group wanted to know why the animal was not tranquilized rather than executed. Here are some comments in various articles I have read on this subject.

W. Rackley, “The gorilla should have killed the child.”

J. Lopez, “He looked like he was helping, harmless animal, poor thing…”

Damon T. “They should have let nature take its course.”

Martin R. “Arrest the mother and father…. don’t kill innocent gorillas.”

This group has moved fast to create a petition Justice for Harambe. They are calling for the investigation of the parents who they feel are responsible for Harambe’s death. To many the killing of this gorilla is equated with murder. It is hard to understand but to some in this group the killing of Harambe is considered a greater injustice than the murder of a human.


The truth is the parents did allow their child to get away from them and end up in the gorilla exhibit. This is the first such occurrence since the gorilla exhibit opened in 1978. No one seems to be certain how this happened. Any person who believes a toddler can’t escape from the parents’ sight simply is not in touch with reality. It takes only a moment for an adult’s attention to be diverted and a child make an escape. As a pastor of 25 years I have much experience of helping parents look for lost/hidden children on our church grounds. I have been to emergency rooms dozens of times with children who have fallen down stairs, drank insect repellent, fallen out of tree houses, etc… Some people do not understand how a parent can lose a child. Here are some comments by the incensed.

Spirit of 1616, “This mom is completely at fault.”

Maria F. “Parents need to be arrested.”

W Morales, “…hate the parents, innocent gorilla died cause the stupid idiot parents.”

W. S. describes this mother as a “worthless piece of ‘manure’ mother.”

Luke 2:43 says of Mary and Joseph, the earthly parents of Jesus, “After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.” Mary, the woman most blessed of all women, did not know where Jesus was. I wonder if she would be called ignorant, an idiot or stupid?

One story read the child had been told several times,”No, you can’t get in the water.” The child repeatedly asked to get in the water. I have no idea if that is true or not. What I will say is it is poor, lazy parenting to allow your child to ignore your decisions and continue to labor for their way. Such a child needs to be taught submission to authority, they will have to practice submission the rest of their lives.


On Monday armchair quarterbacks overran social media with their opinions on what the gorilla was doing, and how the child was not in danger, and the gorilla was protecting the child. Thane Maynard is an American Zookeeper and the director of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. He said there was no other option than putting Harambe down. He explained how tranquilizing a silver back, especially one that is annoyed, would cause him to jump in a rage. It could take up to 10 minutes for the animal to go down from the effects of the tranquilizer. As hard as it is to believe possible a tranquilizer would have put the child at an even greater risk. Jack Hanna was interviewed on CBS This Morning. Certainly Jack Hanna is an expert on wildlife, raising enormous amounts of money for the preservation of Gorillas. He concluded killing this gorilla was the only solution.

The experts, the very ones who have dedicated their lives to animal care, concluded a full-grown silver back gorilla’s life is not as precious as the human’s life. I am grateful the experts who determined the course of action to be taken in Cincinnati were persuaded this course need to be taken.


As a Christian I am persuaded the only opinion that really matters on any subject is God’s. We learn how God feels on any subject by studying His Word, the Holy Bible. As Christians we often discuss and celebrate the sanctity of human life. The Bible is clear that human life is the supreme life on earth.

In Genesis 1:26 the Bible says that man is created in the image of God, animals nor angels have this distinction. This verse goes on to say that humans have dominion over animals. Dominion means that animals are to be subjugated by humans, they are to be reigned over by humans. This verse alone is all that is needed to understand in God’s eyes a child is more significant than an animal.

In Mark 5:1-13 Jesus encounters a man who was possessed by a multitude of demons. Jesus cast the demons out of this poor man AND INTO A HERD OF PIGS who then drowned in a lake. It can be concluded from Jesus’ actions the man was more important than the pigs.

Matthew 6:26 plainly says, “Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?” Jesus asks a rhetorical question where the answer is understood to be of course you are more important than the birds of the sky.

I do not recognize the world we live in today. A child climbed into a gorilla exhibit and there is outrage the child was saved by killing the gorilla. Today some are outraged and protest over any and every thing. What people fail to realize is their continual protests and outrage turn their voices into background noise. I like for my voice to be heard on certain unjust causes, the saving of a child from maiming and death is not one of those causes.

2 thoughts on “THEY SHOT THE GORILLA?”

  1. Your views on this event are coincident with mine. Some people are existing just to be outraged. They attach themselves to issues about which they have no expertise and express their ignorance loudly and eloquently. I especially like your “background noise” analogy. And I’ve never realized till now that Jesus was once a missing child.

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