Sunday, May 29, 2016

A much happier story about a boy who fell into a gorilla enclosure from 1986

The shooting of a gorilla after a small boy fell into his enclosure at Cincinnati zoo was horrible.

This blog is more sympathetic to zoos than is fashionable today, but this incident makes you want to close every one down.

I was reminded of a story from the past. It turned out to have happened at Gerald Durrell's Jersey Zoo in 1986 and you can see what happened in the video above/

A Daily Mail story earlier this year tells what happened next:
Levan spent six weeks in hospital nursing a fractured skull and broken arm. 
Following his recovery, his family was invited back to the zoo and he has maintained links with them ever since. He has returned on more than 10 occasions. 
In 1992, he cut the ribbon to celebrate the installment of a bronze statue of Jambo following his death, which happened to be on the same day as his parents' wedding anniversary. 
He said: 'I am forever thankful to Jambo as obviously it could have gone one or two ways. It was amazing how he protected me in that way. 
'I was pleased to be involved when the statue was put up of him in the zoo.' 
He also returned to the zoo on the 20th anniversary of the event where he was reunited with former ambulanceman Brian Fox, who helped lift him to safety. 
He said he was 'proud' to have helped change public perceptions of gorillas from dangerous King Kong beasts to gentle giants.
Is it wrong to see this as one more example of Americans being trigger happy?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Is it wrong to see this as one more example of Americans being trigger happy? "

I remember the Jersey incident well.

The BBC report on the Cincinnati incident says "The boy climbed through a barrier and fell into a moat, where he was grabbed and dragged by the gorilla."

It isn't clear how accurate this is. Could the gorilla have been trying to rescue the child from the moat?

Although I'm quite ready to agree that all too many Americans are in the habit of shooting first and asking questions afterwards - we just don't have enough evidence - yet - it might be helpful if mobile phone footage was available which showed more of the incident - to judge whether or not the action was justified.