Harambe the Gorilla’s Death: An Unfit Mom or Something More?

Tragedy Strikes: Harambe the Gorilla’s Death

I’m sure by now most people are aware of the current story circulating the news and internet about the incident at the Cincinnati Zoo where a three-year-old boy had fallen into a Western Lowland male gorilla’s den, where he stayed for nearly fifteen minutes until a difficult decision was made for Harambe the gorilla’s death.

What an awful situation for everyone involved, with no clear-cut decision. It was obvious from the time it took zoo staff to make the decision for Harambe the gorilla’s death, that it was not lightly made.

I am quite certain that everyone surrounding the incident secretly waited for a miraculous event to occur, hoping that Harambe would give the boy a hug, lift him up to his parents, and then with a gentle pat on the head, be gone.

We all know that our miracle never came.

Was There Another Option Apart From Harambe the Gorilla’s Death?

How can we have such high expectations on an animal who has had no involvement with children in the past? They both must have been so scared and confused. Was he dangerous? Should he fight him? There was no way Harambe could have known how integral his actions were to everyone involved, during those 15 minutes.

People have questioned “why couldn’t he have been tranquilized?”, but at 450 lbs, I assume it would have been like guessing where a tree cut from all sides would fall.

It is the sad truth that the three-year-old boy owes his life to the person that held that gun that caused Harambe the gorilla’s death.

What is Wrong With Humanity?

I am all about animal rights, and I truly believe that humanities ingrained speciesism is reprehensible. If we take anything at all from this story, it is that we as a society need to take a good hard look at how we have only given animals who live on this planet two options – stay in captivity and be laughed at and cajoled as pieces of entertainment, or run the risk of becoming extinct.

Maybe we should be looking at humanity as a whole and what we can do to change it, instead of looking for another head on a platter.

An Unfit Mother?

Since the incident there have been public outcries, viral memes generated and even a petition made on Change.org, called “Justice for Harambe”, in which 480,939 supporters have signed requesting that this child’s home be investigated.


While I completely agree that it is a parent’s duty to provide supervision to their children at all times, I also know how difficult some children can be to manage. I have a 15 month old little boy at home who can easily be found standing on our kitchen table naked in the time it takes me to tell my daughter to go wash her hands. I know first-hand what tiny feet can accomplish in mere seconds.

According to US Weekly, this mom had written a Facebook post that she has since taken off, writing “As a society we are quick to judge how a parent could take their eyes off of their child and if anyone knows me I keep a tight watch on my kids. Accidents happen but I am thankful that the right people were in the right place.”

For all of you who know me at all or have read my articles about what’s really important to our children, about everyday strangers who help moms avoid epic public meltdowns and how our lives are perfectly imperfect, you already know that I am very passionate about talking to the unfortunate prevalence of mommy guilt.

It is easy in retrospect to respond, “how easy is it to prevent silagra price your child from jumping into an animal den?”

Seems like a simple enough task.

But we weren’t there. It wasn’t intentional and we cannot judge.

The Pandemic of Mommy Guilt

In our current society, it doesn’t matter what you do as a mom, you will feel judged for it.

It goes something like this:

You breastfeed your children? Oh, well I sure hope you’re covering up those tantalizing ta-ta’s while your baby tries to eat. I eat under my covers all the time!

Bottle feed? Don’t you know that breast is best? And that formula, well you’re pretty much guaranteeing your kid is going to be fat and diabetic later. You sure are winning at this parenting thing.

Co-sleeping? You mean suffocation at its finest! It really should be illegal.

You let your baby cry it out? What kind of monstrous beast are you?

You let your baby nap on you every day? What a push-over! You’re going to be their bitch forever.

Your kid is so active. It’s obvious that she is a little terror because you don’t set enough boundaries!

You don’t buy your kids organic baby food? Don’t you love them at all?

You’re watching your child on that play equipment like a hawk. You must be a helicopter parent. How are they supposed to live a full life with you hovering over them?

How About We Show Some Compassion

Being a mom these days is hard.

Really hard.

But being three-year-old-kid-who-fell-into-a-zoo-enclosure’s mom?

I bet that mom feels fucking awful, even with her son’s positive outcome.

Let me put it this way: Do you think she took her child to the zoo that day with the intent of losing him in a gorilla den and ultimately becoming a part of Harambe the gorilla’s death? No, she went there to share an experience with her son that our society has made almost a right of passage.

The sad thing is, no matter what the outcome ended up being for her son and Harambe, this mom’s parenting skills will forever be scrutinized. There have been over 400,000 people who have already signed their names to a document stating that she is a negligent mom who needs Children’s Aid involvement!

Imagine, just for a second, what that must feel like – to have enough complete strangers to fill a small country, who do not know your parenting style at all, band together to try to have your kids taken away.

I really have no clue who this mom is, what this mom is like, whether I agree with her parenting style or morals or whether she does need CAS involvement, but that is the point.

None of us can make those determinations from this single, saddening, freak accidental event.

Even when she isn’t being judged, even five years from now, she will that think she is.

She will forever second guess herself.

To this mom, who as I write this is probably putting her son to bed, relishing the time she is able to spend with him, and breathing him in as much as he will allow – I really feel for you.

Be strong and you will get through this.

For all of you in the comfort of your own home, your kids safely tucked in bed —

Those of you who just as easily could have killed a deer while driving your kids home from the movies, and afterwards found yourself thanking your lucky stars that your family wasn’t hurt instead of grieving for the death of the deer —

Please try to remember your humility before writing hateful words directed toward someone who has already gone through enough.

What are your thoughts about Harambe the gorilla’s death? Please share in the comment section below! No hateful comments, please or they will be removed.


Hi! I am a Registered Nurse on a unit that encompasses labour and delivery, postpartum, medical, surgical and palliative care in a rural hospital in Ontario, Canada. I am a mom of two and am passionate about women's rights, mom and infant care, parenting and nursing. I hope to create an educational, entertaining and highly relatable resource for women around the world. Thanks for stopping by! Xo, The Mama Nurse

9 thoughts on “Harambe the Gorilla’s Death: An Unfit Mom or Something More?

  • June 3, 2016 at 7:08 am

    I agree, it seems like being a parent these days is so tough. It seems like judgement has gone to an all time high and it makes it very hard to parent your children. There is always someone who sending the message everyday “you can do better”. I’m wasn’t there the day of the zoo incident but I’m happy the little boy is okay and I’m said that an endangered animal is longer here. The circumstances would have been much different if the gorilla were living in his natural habitat. That’s one reason I don’t support Zoo’s (but that’s another topic). Great post once again!

  • June 3, 2016 at 8:13 am

    I love this because you’re so right. We can’t judge her as an unfit mom just because something horrible happened. In the time it takes me to eat a bite of food, my kid climbs something new and I have to run after him to get him down. Kids are just that way, and we simply can’t have our hands on them every second of every moment. Sometimes horrible and scary things happen to wonderful parents. Sometimes negligent parents are just lucky and nothing happens. We just can’t judge a situation like that so negatively, even though it is such an instinct to do so.
    Julie S. @ Fab Working Mom Life recently posted…Gratitude and Goals June 3, 2016 #GratitudeGoalsMy Profile

  • June 3, 2016 at 8:52 am

    It seems like almost every time a new story comes out about a child, the first thing people say is, “Where were the parents?” Well maybe they were right there. I don’t know what happened in this situation specifically but I was once sitting right next to my then 7 month old on my bed with my arm around his back when he flung himself forward and fell off. Truly, I was right there. Your kid can even get hurt during story time, for crying out loud! I saw a comment on a social media post about this where the lady was saying every time she takes her sons out, she says a prayer that she won’t become this week’s trending news. This story is an all-around nightmare!

  • June 3, 2016 at 10:12 am

    This has been a weird week for me. Side by this story is the story of a family in my city, a family I know a bit because she was my prenatal instructor. The dad accidently ran over and killed his 7 year old daughter. Shit happens. Life altering, devastating shit. I have not seen one comment blaming the dad. We all get how easily it could happen and are heartbroken for them. The community rallied, their go fund me is close to 100,000.

    My brain can’t handle why this mom whose son managed to get into a gorilla enclosure (if it has never happened before doesn’t that speak to how skilled this kid is???) becomes shark bait. I love the internet, but sometimes wow. Just wow.
    Jenn recently posted…What I’m Into: May 2016 EditionMy Profile

  • June 3, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    Wow this article sums up everything I was thinking. I’m sure if the child died there would be an investigation on the mother the media would have roasted her digging into her past like…come on give her a break!! Society is so quick to judge women and mother’s. Parenting us hard as it is

  • June 5, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    I was shocked at how everyone is sympathizing with the animal and demonizing the mother. It wasn’t an easy decision for the zookeepers to make, but I am certain things would have been worse if the child had died instead of the gorilla. What is startling is how they don’t get mad when tons of kids are shot at schools or when you hear about kids getting killed accidentally when someone is cleaning their gun or another kid finds a loaded gun.

  • June 7, 2016 at 7:28 am

    I’m not gonna lie, I was really nervous about reading this because it’s such a touchy subject right now. But I absolutely love how you said this. It’s so easy to judge the mother and say, “Well I would never have let that happen to MY kids,” but unless you were there you just don’t know what really happened. It’s such an awful situation for everyone involved.
    Samantha @ Momma Wants Java recently posted…16 Outrageously Fun Things to Do with Your Long-Distance FriendshipMy Profile

  • June 13, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Yes! Finally! A voice of reason! Thank you for your well written, non-judgemental article on this very sad, no-win situation.

  • June 14, 2016 at 6:14 am

    Regardless of this woman’s parenting style she was at a zoo with wild animals and three children.The one child climbed a fence and she failed to notice.


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