Jane Goodall, one of the world’s most prominent primatologists, has weighed on the killing of a gorilla at Cincinnati Zoo after a child fell into the animal’s enclosure.
Goodall wrote to the zoo’s director, Thayne Maynard, this week expressing her sympathy at his situation.
“I feel sorry for you, having to try to defend something which you may well disapprove of,” she writes.
She briefly interprets what the gorilla may have been doing when it had the boy — referencing a similar event in 1996, when a child fell into a gorilla exhibit in Chicago — but mostly she shows concern for those affected by the incident.
She signs off the brief correspondence: “Feeling for you, Jane.”
Here’s the email.
In 1996, another young boy fell into a gorilla’s enclosure. In that instance the female gorilla picked up the children and handed him to staff at the zoo.
The zoo’s decision to shoot the animal has been heavily critised by animal activists but Maynard, says the decision to shoot dead Harambe, the male gorilla which was dragging the child around by the ankle, would be made again, explaining that the ape was hurting the boy.
“Looking back, we would make the same decision,” Maynard told a news conference.
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