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Gorilla attack: Why there was no other option but to kill Harambe

By Pallavi

The world is divided as to whether killing Harambe was the only option to save the child that fell in his enclosure. While Wild life activists cry hoarse against the negligent behaviour of the zoo and the parent of the boy, one zookeeper and a Gorilla expert is of another opinion.

Amanda O'Donoughue, who is a zoo keeper and claims to have been working with Gorillas for a very long time reveals shocking details when it comes to the body language of the Gorilla, especially when many believe that the Gorilla was just trying to save the boy.

Gorilla zoo

She said, "I have worked with Gorillas as a zookeeper while in my twenties (before children) and they are my favorite animal (out of dozens) that I have ever worked closely with. I am gonna go ahead and list a few facts, thoughts and opinions for those of you that aren't familiar with the species itself, or how a zoo operates in emergency situations.

[Read: Outrage on social media over killing of gorilla in US zoo]

Now Gorillas are considered 'gentle giants' at least when compared with their more aggressive cousins the chimpanzee, but a 400+ pound male in his prime is as strong as roughly 10 adult humans. What can you bench press? OK, now multiply that number by ten. An adult male silverback gorilla has one job, to protect his group. He does this by bluffing or intimidating anything that he feels threatened by."

Adding to this, she says that zoo enclosures have become less safe in an effort to offer unimpended views to visitors.

However, she has no second thoughts about Harambe's intentions and that was certainly not a affectionate. While explaining, she says, "I have watched this video over again, and with the silverback's postering, and tight lips, it's pretty much the stuff of any keeper's nightmares... I keep hearing that the Gorilla was trying to protect the boy. I do not find this to be true. Harambe reaches for the boys hands and arms, but only to position the child better for his own displaying purposes. Males do very elaborate displays when highly agitated, slamming and dragging things about. Typically they would drag large branches, barrels and heavy weighted balls around to make as much noise as possible. Not in an effort to hurt anyone or anything (usually) but just to intimidate. It was clear to me that he was reacting to the screams coming from the gathering crowd."

Harambe would have done the kid harm, no doubt as he considered the boy an intruder.

"Harambe was most likely not going to separate himself from that child without seriously hurting him first (again due to mere size and strength, not malicious intent) ... They didn't use Tranquilizers for a few reasons, A. Harambe would've taken too long to become immobilized, and could have really injured the child in the process as the drugs used may not work quickly enough depending on the stress of the situation and the dose B. Harambe would've have drowned in the moat if immobilized in the water, and possibly fallen on the boy trapping him and drowning him as well."

O'Donoughue, showing compassion for Harambe and the zoo keepers who had to kill the animal whom they nurtured, "I can't point fingers at anyone in this situation, but we need to really evaluate the safety of the animal enclosures from the visitor side. Not impeding that view is a tough one, but there should be no way that someone can find themselves inside of an animal's exhibit.

[Read: 20 years ago, a gorilla had reached a boy to safety after it fell inside cage]

I know one thing for sure, those keepers lost a beautiful, and I mean gorgeous silverback and friend. I feel their loss with them this week. As educators and conservators of endangered species, all we can do is shine a light on the beauty and majesty of these animals in hopes to spark a love and a need to keep them from vanishing from our planet. Child killers, they are not."

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