After zookeepers at the Cincinnati Zoo killed Harambe – a rare 17-year-old silverback gorilla – to protect a 3-year-old boy who had fallen into an enclosure on Saturday, people criticized the zoo for how it handled the situation. While more than 100,000 have signed a change.org petition asking that the boy’s parents be held responsible for Harambe’s death, outrage is still brewing after a similar event happened in Chile a week before the events at the Cincinnati Zoo.
At Parque Metropolitano de Santiago, a man stripped naked and entered a lion enclosure. Then man, identified as 20-year-old Franco Luis Ferrada, has been described as suicidal, and the zookeepers worked fast to save him from being mauled to death. According to The Guardian, Ferrada climbed on top of the lion pen’s roof and broke in. Two lions – Manolo and Flaca – began attacking after he reportedly taunted them.
The zookeepers first responded by turning a hose on the lions, but switched tactics and tried to tranquilize Manolo and Flaca. However, they missed and hit Ferrada in the back of the neck. When the lions began to move in on Ferrada, a zookeeper killed the two lions. A third lion named Gorda was not harmed, and is now the only lion left.
The zoo’s director, Alejandra Montalba, stands by her staff’s actions. “The alarms sounded and chemical control arrived [tranquilizer darts] and an independent shooter arrived,” she said. “The shooter decided to save the life of the person and unfortunately, we had to sacrifice two members of our family. The zoo has an established protocol because people’s lives are very important to us.”
By nighttime, people held a candlelight vigil for Manolo and Flaca at the zoo, and they have expressed their discontent with the situation on social media. But among the criticism, there’s also those who have spoken out about the importance of mental health treatment. Check out a few responses below: