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Why Didn't They Leave the Gorilla Alone?

As the world now knows, Harambe the Gorilla was shot and killed by Cincinnati zookeepers after a young boy fell into the moat surrounding the gorilla exhibit. Some people are outraged at the zoo—many more at the parents of the boy—for putting down the 17-year-old, 450-lb silverback.


There will be plenty of time for blaming people in the days and weeks ahead. I would like to ask a more basic question: Why didn't they just leave the poor gorilla alone?

Some people mistakenly believe the gorilla was protecting the boy from the onlookers. But Jack Hanna, the Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, said that video taken of the incident shows Harambe becoming more agitated. A gorilla his size, says Hanna, can crush a coconut like a marshmallow. At any point he could have killed the child very easily.

It is at this point in the drama that a choice has to be made: human life or animal life?As Hanna said an interview with WBNS-10TV: "The decision was the right decision made. There was no other decision to make here. You have human life. You have animal life. No one loves humans and animals more than the head of a family or the zoo world. And they made the right decision."

There are those who are upset that different tactics were not used, but I have not heard anyone say that the gorilla's life is worth more than the child's.

Why is that? Every human instinctively knows that human life is sacred. An animal's life is very valuable, but it does not compare to the worth of a human.

According to Genesis 1:26-27, only one part of God's creation is made in His image: humans. He has built this knowledge into the spirit of every person, even those who do not believe in Him.

Eventually, some secular humanist will make the case that we should have just let nature take its course between the child and the gorilla. He or she may even argue that the gorilla's life is worth as much the child's. A belief in evolution logically leads to this conclusion.

The idea that animals are as valuable as humans is such a ridiculous and unpopular belief that Christians everywhere should give God's answer to the question: Why didn't they leave the gorilla alone?