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Animal behavior expert says Harambe the gorilla was simply investigating boy that fell into enclosure and knew he was 'defenseless'

Harambe the gorilla

(NaturalNews) A gorilla shot dead by officials at the Cincinnati Zoo after a 4-year-old boy fell into his enclosure, was not acting aggressively and would not have harmed the boy, an animal behavior expert has said.

Professor Gisela Kaplan of the University of New England told The Daily Telegraph that the gorilla knew the boy was not a threat.

The shooting of Harambe, the western lowland gorilla, sparked international outrage as people asked why it was so easy for a child to crawl through the zoo barriers, and why zoo officials moved so quickly to kill a critically endangered animal rather than trying other measures first.

'Investigating, not attacking'

Kaplan said that Harambe was a dominant gorilla, and therefore responsible for protecting his group from threats. Dominant gorillas therefore investigate all unusual occurrences, which is what Harambe was doing when he approached the boy who fell into the enclosure. He was "investigating, not attacking," Kaplan said.

Based on her knowledge of gorilla behavior, Kaplan is certain that Harambe would not have perceived the boy as a threat.

"The silverback would've understood that it was a defen[se]less small child," Kaplan said. "They would not normally attack, they are not an aggressive species (and) in the wild I'm certain the boy wouldn't have been killed," she said.

"If he was going to attack he would've warned him first. The first thing they do is charge and beat their chests and as far as I know that didn't happen.'"

Television vet Chris Brown has also publicly questioned the decision to kill Harambe.

"Western lowland gorillas like Harambe are classified as critically-endangered in the wild and behaviourally are renowned for being relatively placid, unless provoked," he wrote on Facebook.

"So were other non-lethal measures an option?"

While acknowledging the "awful situation" that zoo staff found themselves in, Brown enumerated several other ways in which they could have responded.

'Set the animals free'

Many commenters have rushed to blame the child's parents for Harambe's death – even though it was zoo officials, not the parents, who shot the gorilla. But Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, has noted that Harambe's death is just an extension of the cruelty and violence practiced upon gorillas and other endangered and non-endangered wildlife by the institution of zoos.

"All zoos are founded in animal cruelty... the enslavement of conscious beings for the entertainment of stupid humans," he wrote.

Supposed parental neglect in this case is a distraction from the society's larger failure to teach
children about what animals are actually like, Adams says. He calls zoos "theatrical institutions of mass deception" that convey the false impression that wild animals naturally spend all day sitting around waiting to be looked at.

"Stop teaching children that animals are obedient creatures to be contained and controlled for entertainment purposes," he writes. "If you want to teach a child about the real world, take them camping in an actual forest somewhere."

Adams also suggests giving children hands-on experience with raising animals.

"Shut down the zoos and set the animals free," he writes.

Adams also notes the irony of a culture that murders a non-threatening, endangered animal in the name of protecting a child, then turns around and practices massive poisoning of children in the form of toxic chemicals such as pesticides and unnecessary pharmaceutical drugs.

"Now it has become crystal clear: This act of violence against Harambe showcases everything that's wrong with humanity, a suicidal race of violent killers who systematically destroy all other life on the planet by claiming such actions are necessary to 'protect us,'" he writes.

"An entire race of 'advanced' humans systematically poisons its own children every single day in the form of vaccines and autism," Adams writes, "yet when a gorilla shows no such threat whatsoever, the gorilla is murdered in cold blood 'just in case.'"

(Photo credit: Cincinnati Zoo)

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