Harambe: Internal Perspectives

By Daniel D’Amico, Trending Writer

The killing of a 17-year old Western Lowland Gorilla, Harambe, has been a major topic of controversy. Many criticize this action, while others agree with it. Regardless of the various viewpoints, Harambe’s death has been spreading on social media in the form of memes more than anything else.

Many animal activists were up in arms about the gorilla’s death. Some blamed the zoo while others blamed the mother. According to an article on CBS News, a petition arose that asked to pass “Harambe’s Law, so there are legal consequences when an endangered animal is harmed or killed due to the negligence of visitors.”

Despite some of the good intentions that activists had, it spiraled out of control when the internet started mass producing Harambe memes. According to Verge, this made the issue more difficult for the Cincinnati Zoo staff as they were trying to cope with the loss. Thane Maynard, the zoo’s director, stated, “We are not amused by the memes, petitions and signs about Harambe. Our zoo family is still healing, and the constant mention of Harambe makes moving forward more difficult for us.”

The situation has indeed become increasingly challenging for the director himself as his Twitter account was hacked. Not surprisingly, the hackers used it to further the memes and jokes through messages and pictures. Others such as James Leggate, web editor at WCPO, also expressed a desire to stop the Harambe petitions which had gotten out of control when the “goofuses of internet” overtook them.

For as many critics of the zoo’s decision as there are, there are also those that support it. A CNN article discusses how many extended their deepest sympathies. Some of these people questioned just how much worse it could have been if the child had died. One person states, “My heart goes out to all of the Zoo Family at this time. I am well aware of how difficult the decision was….especially as the staff at the Zoo goes above and beyond providing compassionate care for all the animals entrusted to them.”

Despite all that the Cincinnati zoo has faced, they have indeed pushed through and improved their zoo to ensure past incidents would not be repeated. Journal News states that a new, higher barriers and three surveillance cameras were added to the exhibit. These changes were added and Gorilla World was opened several weeks after the incident. Maynard addressed this saying, “of course it’s time to move on and to see gorillas again here.” The zoo and many of the people local to Cincinnati have been able to cope with the death of Harambe and overcome it and the myriad amount of memes.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, September 27th print edition.

Contact Daniel at


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