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Zoo Tragedy

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The more I hear about this gorilla getting shot and killed because a 3-year-old was able to climb into the enclosure, the more absurd it seems that it would even be possible for an infant to get in. If an INFANT could get in, then a crazy but agile adult person would have an EASY time getting in there to cause trouble. The zoo seems terribly guilty to not make such a dangerous place less easy to access for anyone. What do you think?

Edited by Airbrush

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I think they did adult proof the compound; I have pups ATM and however hard I try, they still escape.

 

I think they did all they could and, ultimately, made the right decision (a safe tranquiliser would take more than enough time for the innocent child to suffer/die).


I also think a tranq should have been used because the decision was political not ethical.

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I agree that a three year old should not be able to enter the enclosure of a dangerous animal. If a child can get into my yard to play with my dog and he gets bitten, I am liable.

 

Adults are different though. A 'reasonable' adult would know better. A 'reasonable' child would not.

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How many children die because of a parent's negligence every year ?

How many children die because parents expose them to 'unsafe' conditions ?

How many make national news ?

 

The fact that a gorilla had to be put down because a negligent parent exposed their kid to unsafe conditions, has made national news.

Would there be this much discussion if the zoo staff had done nothing and the kid had been injured ( or killed ) ?

 

I think the 'best' of the bad outcomes was chosen.

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Zoos are designed so visitors can get as close as possible to the animals while still being safe.

In this instance there was a deep moat between the visitors and the gorillas. The railing was so people would not fall in the moat.

The gorilla jumped into the moat after the boy fell in.

636002342761651826-GorillaOnline.jpg

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2016/05/30/usda-review-gorillas-death-zoo-look-safety-exhibits/85165924/?from=global&sessionKey=&autologin=

In this situation any adult certainly could get into that moat if they really tried.

The more I hear about this gorilla getting shot and killed because a 3-year-old was able to climb into the enclosure, the more absurd it seems that it would even be possible for an infant to get in. If an INFANT could get in, then a crazy but agile adult person would have an EASY time getting in there to cause trouble. The zoo seems terribly guilty to not make such a dangerous place less easy to access for anyone. What do you think?


I think it's a tragic situation because the Gorilla did nothing wrong: it was in its habitat and investigated the boy falling in because they are curious animals. It did drag the boy around, but that's how they carry most things. The gorilla was not attacking the boy, it seemed curious about the boy IMO.

 

ETA: I also think the zoo made the correct decision. It's unfortunate though.

Edited by thatsneakyguy

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ETA: I also think the zoo made the correct decision. It's unfortunate though.

They were damned whatever way they decided. They had to put the boy first. I'm sure the zoo staff involved are pretty upset.

 

C'est la vie (sh*t happens)

Edited by StringJunky

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You'd have to go to ridiculous lengths to avoid what happened here. By age 4, anyone would expect a child to understand that you don't climb over barriers everyone is telling you not to climb over. Guard railing can only help if you stay behind it.

 

I blame the mother in this situation, but even she didn't take her own child seriously when he said he was going to climb over the fence. For whatever reasons (the saturation of "climbing walls" as recreation for children?), that little boy was insufficiently schooled in how to behave at the zoo. I don't blame the zoo for that, nor do I blame them for this incident. You can't effectively put alarms in every place you've warned people not to go.

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This is a very sad and unfortunate situation and while fault is not easily established in this case, if I had to assign it, I would classify it as parental negligence. It's impossible for a zoo to make the environment 100% safe and unfortunately, these sort of accidents happen, although it is rare. When you decide to become a parent, I believe you're ultimately responsible for the well being of your child; zoos have an ethical responsibility to provide a safe environment but it's impossible to eliminate every risk. As a parent, you need to assess the potential risks and have a plan to minimise the risk. It is intimately your responsibility that you teach your child the correct behaviour for different environments because this is not common sense to them at this age; it needs to be taught. If you have not taught your child not to wonder off in a public space and they get lost, then the parent is liable; this is not so different because as Phi said, this child was not taught to not climb fences. It may be very difficult for a parent to accept they were negligent in this case because it is so traumatic and emotional, but that does not make them exempt from fault.

Edited by Sirona

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As a parent, you need to assess the potential risks and have a plan to minimise the risk.

 

Exactly. If you're fairly certain your child is going to ignore the rules to stay behind guard railing, your plan should NEVER include places with guard railing. And if you can't avoid them, you go out of your way to keep the child from climbing.

 

It has to be that way. Can you imagine going in to any place of business and telling them that the guard railing they installed per building codes just isn't going to be adequate to handle YOUR child?

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While I don't disagree with the sentiments being expressed regarding the necessity of parental control over a child, it is impossible to draw any conclusions about the mother from a single event. Children are by definition immature and it is unrealistic to assume that had only the child been trained correctly this kind of thing would not have happened.

It is also impossible for a parent to be 100% focused on their child. Things are happening around them and they will on occasion focus on other things, no matter how short the duration.

On occasion a parent will be distracted at that very instant their child does something risky. Those are simply accidents and will happen once in a while. If when it happens someone dies, it is tragic and makes the news.

It is not difficult to construct a barrier that a three year old cannot breach. It is my opinion that a zoo shares in the responsibility for thwarting inquisitive children.

Edited by zapatos

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Exactly. If you're fairly certain your child is going to ignore the rules to stay behind guard railing, your plan should NEVER include places with guard railing. And if you can't avoid them, you go out of your way to keep the child from climbing.

 

It has to be that way. Can you imagine going in to any place of business and telling them that the guard railing they installed per building codes just isn't going to be adequate to handle YOUR child?

 

 

Unfortunately there is a slice of the population who think exactly that way.

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While I don't disagree with the sentiments being expressed regarding the necessity of parental control over a child, it is impossible to draw any conclusions about the mother from a single event. Children are by definition immature and it is unrealistic to assume that had only the child been trained correctly this kind of thing would not have happened.

It is also impossible for a parent to be 100% focused on their child. Things are happening around them and they will on occasion focus on other things, not matter how short the duration.

On occasion a parent will be distracted at that very instant their child does something risky. Those are simply accidents and will happen once in a while. If when it happens someone dies, it is tragic and makes the news.

It is not difficult to construct a barrier that a three year old cannot breach. It is my opinion that a zoo shares in the responsibility for thwarting inquisitive children.

I concur. I'm sure the zoo will be ruminating on the lessons learned, especially in the light of all the attention.

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It is not difficult to construct a barrier that a three year old cannot breach. It is my opinion that a zoo shares in the responsibility for thwarting inquisitive children.

 

But that's not the whole equation here. You have to build a barrier that anyone ambulatory who can't be reasoned with can't breach, that also lets reasonable visitors enjoy the sights.

 

Seriously, providing authoritative warning via barriers like guard rails (or crime scene tape, or safety seals on medicine) puts the burden of training on the parents. If we can't agree that those should be enough, even in cases like this one, then what's next?

 

I seriously thought, well maybe they need to put an alarm in those bushes in case someone does climb the guard rail, something to alert everyone that the first defenses had been breached. That may not have stopped this four-year-old though. Maybe another guard rail before the moat? But the first one didn't work, did it? Because for some reason, this child's mother hadn't simply made it clear that humans always stay behind the guard rails when they visit animals at the zoo.

 

A zoo is a public resource. I don't think it's too much to encourage the public to train their children to be respectful of wildlife, the same way they should if they were out camping. Otherwise, we'd never be able to afford places like this, and might not enjoy the experience nearly as much if we could.

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But that's not the whole equation here. You have to build a barrier that anyone ambulatory who can't be reasoned with can't breach...

Why? We put child safety caps on medicine bottles that others can breach. We put child locks on supply cabinets that others can breach. We put fences around swimming pools that others can climb.

 

Zoos are child magnets. As I hear many here often say, don't fail to accept the 'good' just because you cannot achieve the 'perfect'.

 

Seriously, providing authoritative warning via barriers like guard rails (or crime scene tape, or safety seals on medicine) puts the burden of training on the parents. If we can't agree that those should be enough, even in cases like this one, then what's next?

A barrier that a child cannot breach.

 

Because for some reason, this child's mother hadn't simply made it clear that humans always stay behind the guard rails when they visit animals at the zoo.

How do you know that? Do you honestly believe that if a parent "makes it clear that humans always stay behind the guard rails when they visit animals at the zoo", then safety is assured? I think you are mistaken about the capabilities of children to reason and understand risk.

 

A zoo is a public resource. I don't think it's too much to encourage the public to train their children to be respectful of wildlife, the same way they should if they were out camping.

No one does think that is too much to ask. Some of us just think that is not enough.

 

Perhaps you should just make it clear to your child that he should not grab the skillet handle on the stove, and that way you won't ever have to turn the handles so he can't reach them.

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A barrier that a child cannot breach.

 

You still aren't acknowledging the rest of the equation. I can make a barrier a child can't breach. It's going to remove you completely from the open air experience of the zoo, and cost ten times what it does now. Minimum.

 

Remember these new barriers and protections have to go on all the sidewalks near roads, also bridges, train stations, everywhere there may be children who can't understand what a guard rail means, or who have parents who might not teach them. Bridges and train tracks are magnets for teens, which is another group that tends to ignore any safety warnings.

 

Let's face it, a guard rail is basically saying, "Yeah, I know you can go right over me, but this is the least amount of protection I can give without raising your taxes or spoiling your view, so please use some common sense and stay behind me". Kids aren't going to get that, so they need to be taught at home and at school. Part of the exchange for using public resources is acknowledgement that nature has sharp edges. We can't afford to protect people's children sufficiently if they can't be bothered to keep them behind guard rails.

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Let's face it, a guard rail is basically saying, "Yeah, I know you can go right over me, but this is the least amount of protection I can give without raising your taxes or spoiling your view, so please use some common sense and stay behind me". Kids aren't going to get that, so they need to be taught at home and at school. Part of the exchange for using public resources is acknowledgement that nature has sharp edges. We can't afford to protect people's children sufficiently if they can't be bothered to keep them behind guard rails.

I agree, Phi. A big part of visiting the zoo is so that you can see animals in a simulated natural habitat and seeing them without a major obstruction is important. Do not misinterpret me, I am not suggesting that public safety should be compromised to improve people's experience, but obviously this is all considered before the construction stage because not only do they have an ethical obligation, but they also want to avoid legal action and negative media attention. Unless the fence was faulty and they could prove this, I believe the negligence lies with the parents.

 

I understand that it's very difficult to watch your child 100% of the time, but one would assume you would not take your child to a public place where there were was reasonable doubt about their safety; as a parent, you know your child the best. If you know that your child has a tendency to climb things, then one would assume it would be common sense not to take your child to the zoo until they've learned to not do this when there is danger present. Children learn at different paces and some children take more time to learn certain things such as acceptable behaviour for different situations. No one will know better than the parent what their child knows and understands as acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in various situations. The zoo can do the best they can to avoid tragedies like this, but ultimately, they cannot be held responsible for every tragedy which happens on their property, unless they were negligent in the construction and maintenance. I don't know enough about the fence construction to comment but since the OP has not suggested there was a known defect with the fence, then I would say the parent is negligible. I understand it's difficult for parents to accept that level of responsibility but ultimately, these are the considerations you need to make when you decide to have a child. It's unfair for businesses to be liable when it's just impossible for them to eliminate all the risks that could lead to an accident; tragedies and accidents do happen.

Edited by Sirona

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You still aren't acknowledging the rest of the equation. I can make a barrier a child can't breach. It's going to remove you completely from the open air experience of the zoo, and cost ten times what it does now. Minimum.

Can you please provide your justification for these assertions?

 

Remember these new barriers and protections have to go on all the sidewalks near roads, also bridges, train stations, everywhere there may be children who can't understand what a guard rail means, or who have parents who might not teach them.

Why? Can you please provide your justification for this assertion? Is there some sort of law that says 'any change to safety procedures in zoos must be matched on sidewalks near roads'? You keep making these assertions but have yet to provide any evidence that this is some sort of requirement.

I agree, Phi. A big part of visiting the zoo is so that you can see animals in a simulated natural habitat and seeing them without a major obstruction is important.

More important than keeping children from ending up in an enclosure with a gorilla?

Was your experience viewing snakes and fish seriously reduced because you had to view them through glass?

 

Unless the fence was faulty and they could prove this, I believe the negligence lies with the parents.

Sometimes accidents happen. Just because something bad happens does not mean someone is negligent.

 

I understand that it's very difficult to watch your child 100% of the time, but one would assume you would not take your child to a public place where there were was reasonable doubt about their safety; as a parent, you know your child the best.

What you and Phi seem to not be acknowledging is that children lack impulse control. You may know your child best, and that child has no history of climbing over walls, and you tell you child the importance of staying away from the wall. And you watch them closely, but you are suddenly distracted as you try to catch your purse as it is knocked out of your hands by someone passing by, and at that very moment your child decides to climb the fence for some reason they only know. That happens. Kids do stupid things all the time, no matter how well you educate them.

 

The zoo can do the best they can to avoid tragedies like this, but ultimately, they cannot be held responsible for every tragedy which happens on their property, unless they were negligent in the construction and maintenance.

The parent can do the best they can to avoid tragedies like this, but ultimately, they cannot be held responsible for every tragedy which happens on their watch, unless they were negligent.

Clearly the zoo did not do their best to avoid tragedies like this. They may have done what they felt was reasonable and required, but they certainly could have done more. Even the zoo acknowledged they will be reviewing their standards after this incident.

 

It's unfair for businesses to be liable when it's just impossible for them to eliminate all the risks that could lead to an accident; tragedies and accidents do happen.

I don't think anyone suggested businesses be held liable for risks that are impossible to eliminate.

It's not a matter of all or nothing. Its a matter of degree. Just because you protect a child from a wild animal in a location that invites children to come, does not mean you have to protect a teenager in that same situation, or protect a child in a location where they are not typically found.

Do you believe they don't need a wall at all, and just depend on the moat for protection? If having the wall is okay with you, then what is wrong with having a wall that cannot be so easily climbed?

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What you and Phi seem to not be acknowledging is that children lack impulse control.

Yes,being told not to do something is not the same as understanding why; they are going to find out the hard way sometimes. A 4 year old is the exact age I would expect to do that; they are old enough to get in to trouble but not necessarily fully self-aware yet as to the possible consequences of their actions.

Edited by StringJunky

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We've become so judgmental and prone to mob justice. Us at SFN to some extent, but more so us globally and online.

 

It's a sad scenario. It's an event that each of us wish went better. Each of us thankful we were not directly involved.

 

Hindsight is always 20/20. Everyone actually involved felt they were doing the right thing, at the time. Each surely now filled with guilt and regret and processing the trauma (a trauma that even the boy himself will be forced to process as he matures and becomes aware of his role in all of this... My sincere hope is that he will allow himself to forgive himself for being an unaware child that simply made a mistake, but I suspect he probably won't, at least not without professional help).

 

The fence to that enclosure was safe and without issue for 37 years. It failed once this day.

The mother failed once this day, too.

All parents fail and sometimes pretty spectacularly.

 

Most don't go viral.

Most aren't so sad.

 

Awful things happen all of the time.

We don't latch on to most. We're not ever aware of most, nor do we generally bother caring.

We usually acknowledge that life's not fair, that bad things happen, and move on. C'est la vie...

 

The zoo staff made an impossible decision in the heat of the moment.

They're not trained for this like soldiers or swat teams are.

They spend their days shoveling manure and filling food buckets and picking up candy bar wrappers.

They tend animals because they love them, because they're passionate and kind, yet in parallel tend usually to be forced to operate with abysmal budget and absent much needed resources.

 

They could've shot the child by mistake.

Could've used tranquilizers only for them to fail and the child killed.

They could've would've didn't ad infinitum...

 

It was an impossible choice without the benefit of retrospect or detached clarity.

 

The child was saved. Our friend the ape lost his life through no fault of his own. That's sad, but that's all.

 

We can talk about the ethics of zoos and the problems with modern parenting and our tendency to crucify others online. That could be interesting, but arguing here? No, IMNSHO that's really not.

 

Just a thought: Perhaps we can instead acknowledge this for the sad tragic situation it is, be thankful we weren't the ones directly involved, celebrate that the boys life was saved, hug our own loved ones, kiss our kids, and move on.

 

You know. Or not. We could of course keep yelling about things literally impossible to change. I suppose that's an option, too.

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We've become so judgmental and prone to mob justice. Us at SFN to some extent, but more so us globally and online.

 

It's a sad scenario. It's an event that each of us wish went better. Each of us thankful we were not directly involved.

 

Hindsight is always 20/20. Everyone actually involved felt they were doing the right thing, at the time. Each surely now filled with guilt and regret and processing the trauma (a trauma that even the boy himself will be forced to process as he matures and becomes aware of his role in all of this... My sincere hope is that he will allow himself to forgive himself for being an unaware child that simply made a mistake, but I suspect he probably won't, at least not without professional help).

 

The fence to that enclosure was safe and without issue for 37 years. It failed once this day.

The mother failed once this day, too.

All parents fail and sometimes pretty spectacularly.

 

Most don't go viral.

Most aren't so sad.

 

Awful things happen all of the time.

We don't latch on to most. We're not ever aware of most, nor do we generally bother caring.

We usually acknowledge that life's not fair, that bad things happen, and move on. C'est la vie...

 

The zoo staff made an impossible decision in the heat of the moment.

They're not trained for this like soldiers or swat teams are.

They spend their days shoveling manure and filling food buckets and picking up candy bar wrappers.

They tend animals because they love them, because they're passionate and kind, yet in parallel tend usually to be forced to operate with abysmal budget and absent much needed resources.

 

They could've shot the child by mistake.

Could've used tranquilizers only for them to fail and the child killed.

They could've would've didn't ad infinitum...

 

It was an impossible choice without the benefit of retrospect or detached clarity.

 

The child was saved. Our friend the ape lost his life through no fault of his own. That's sad, but that's all.

 

We can talk about the ethics of zoos and the problems with modern parenting and our tendency to crucify others online. That could be interesting, but arguing here? No, IMNSHO that's really not.

 

Just a thought: Perhaps we can instead acknowledge this for the sad tragic situation it is, be thankful we weren't the ones directly involved, celebrate that the boys life was saved, hug our own loved ones, kiss our kids, and move on.

 

You know. Or not. We could of course keep yelling about things literally impossible to change. I suppose that's an option, too.

It was a perfect storm of events for this to happen and I blame nobody. As I said before: shit happens..

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It was a perfect storm of events for this to happen and I blame nobody. As I said before: shit happens..

Hmm... The insurance company probably would not think so. They will question zoo's responsibility on the court. And I think this is the right thing to do.

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Hmm... The insurance company probably would not think so. They will question zoo's responsibility on the court. And I think this is the right thing to do.

That's a different kettle of fish.

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Good post iNow. +1

 

Your post reminded me that my very blunt, direct speech has gotten me in trouble more than once as people often rightfully interpret it as aggression or in some other negative way. That is not my intent, but as the speaker the responsibility lies with me to be aware of the tone I am projecting.

My apologies if that happened here and I offended anyone.

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Good post iNow. +1

 

Your post reminded me that my very blunt, direct speech has gotten me in trouble more than once as people often rightfully interpret it as aggression or in some other negative way. That is not my intent, but as the speaker the responsibility lies with me to be aware of the tone I am projecting.

My apologies if that happened here and I offended anyone.

I sensed no aggression; just pointed and direct.

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Agreed. No offense. No worries. :)

For the most part, I was also trying to process my own feelings about the event and appreciate being able to do so safely here.

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