Jo goes ape! In defense of slain gorilla

Not since the great sauce versus gravy debate have there been such polarized of opinions. The topic: Should we sue the zoo? Should we sue the parents? Should we sue the ape? Debate between animal activists and people that have nothing better to do than weigh in on matters that they have no earthly business weighing in on.

Of course, Cable News Network covered it exclusively — well, at least covered it between exhausting plane-crash coverage and Muhammad Ali’s death.

A little boy wandered into a Cincinnati zoo’s gorilla enclosure, the rare silverback (named Harambe) dragged the tot around, and the zoo killed the beast to protect the boy — now people are mad at the zoo and the kid’s mom for not keeping an eye on him.

Here’s the thing: I like animals — I don’t like zoos. Animals belong where Mother Nature intended them to be — in their own environment. Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn’t count on humans, who have to constantly bend the environment to fit our needs. We need more space, so let’s cut down more trees. We need money, so let’s kill animals in the wild and sell their body parts to poachers, so we can make knickknacks to sell to the tourists, who need mementos to take home and show their friends.

So we have zoos. In some ways, they protect the rare and beautiful creatures that Mother Nature intended to be rare and beautiful in their own habitat. And they give humans a way to learn about the creatures without ever setting foot in their habitat. But what does it do the beautiful creature that should be left alone to live out its life in peace? It makes more money for us humans.

Harambe was only doing what an ape should do. He was in his enclosure when a tiny human invaded his space. He did not mean any harm. But we humans — especially little ones — are far too delicate to be dragged around. We are not dolls. We break.

And the parents? Well as much as I would love to say, “You are the parents, you are responsible for holding on to your children,” I really can’t. When my daughter was 3, no matter how hard I tried to contain her, she managed to run, hide, and find all sorts of mischief. It prompted me to put a leash on her whenever we went out just so I could corral her and keep her safe. Plenty of people called me cruel, but I believed then — as I do now — better she cry than I.

Not for nuthin™, there is no one to blame here. No litigation to handle. A very tragic accident occurred. There should be many more leashes for children than there are cages for wild animals.

Joanna DelBuono writes about national issues every Wednesday on BrooklynDaily.com. E-mail her at jdelbuono@cnglocal.com.

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