Petitioning The Cincinnati Zoo Board of Trustees to Honor Harambe
Everyone agrees that the death of the Cincinnati Zoo’s 17 year old lowland gorilla Harambe is a wildlife tragedy—a significant loss for gorilla conservation, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, and the city of Cincinnati. But more importantly, we are thankful that the young boy survived and is safe at home with his family.
Harambe died in order to save the four year old boy who fell into the Gorilla World exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden on Saturday, May 28, 2016. Eyewitness, Brittany Nicely, who tried to grab the boy, explained, “It was literally the blink of an eye.” She further indicated that the mother of the child, who was holding a baby in her arms, could not have prevented the accident. “I saw it,” Ms. Nicely stated, “and I couldn’t even prevent it. It happened so fast.”
The concerted effort to villainize the Cincinnati Zoo and the mother does more harm than good. More specifically it hurts rather than helps the cause of gorilla conservation. Western lowland gorillas, native to central Africa in the rainforests of the Congo River basin, are under severe threat. Habitat destruction, poachers, and political instability in the region, have brought population numbers in the wild down to critically low levels.
The Cincinnati Zoo’s project Saving Species sponsors the Mbeli Bai study located in the the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo. As the longest running field study of western lowland gorilla’s in the wild, researchers there were the first to document tool use by wild gorillas. This project has provided new data about social structures and social relationships of the gorillas while also providing critical habitat protection.
We the undersigned would like to request that the Cincinnati Zoo Board of Trustees initiate a memorial conservation fund in honor of Harambe to support gorilla conservation research. Rather than lay blame for a tragic accident, let’s create a lasting legacy for Harambe. Sign the petition and give a gift to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden to memorialize Harambe. He died on 5/28/16, so I have given a gift of $52.80 designated for gorilla conservation to the zoo. Please sign the petition, pass it along, and consider giving a gift of $5.28 or $52.80 or $528.16 or even $5281.60 to honor harambe.
- Martin Rahe Chairman of the Board of Trustees Cincinnati Zoo
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