Harambe the gorilla named in child abuse allegations
More news on Harambe, the gorilla at Cincinnati zoo who died for our sins. The Mirror leads with a statement punctuated to look like a question: “Proof the gorilla was trying to protect the boy?” That question mark won’t show up on Google searches, so lots of people campaigning for Harmabe’s “murderers” to be tried in court and the boy’s mother, Michelle Gregg, to be punished, will see it as evidence they are right.
On the ridiculous and shrill Justice for Harambe petition, kind hearts want Michelle in prison and the child ripped from the family home:
It is believed that the situation was caused by parental negligence and the zoo is not responsible for the child’s injuries and possible trauma. We the undersigned want the parents to be held accountable for the lack of supervision and negligence that caused Harambe to lose his life. We the undersigned feel the child’s safety is paramount in this situation. We believe that this negligence may be reflective of the child’s home situation. We the undersigned actively encourage an investigation of the child’s home environment in the interests of protecting the child and his siblings from further incidents of parental negligence that may result in serious bodily harm or even death. Please sign this petition to encourage the Cincinnati Zoo, Hamilton County Child Protection Services, and Cincinnati Police Department hold the parents responsible.
The Mirror has no idea what Harambe was and was not thinking. Yesterday, the same paper told readers Harambe was “violently pulling the boy” who had fallen into his pen. If Harambe was a child minder, and we are to treat dumb animals as human beings, affording them the same legal rights as so many demand in online petitions and twitter, Harambe stands accused of child abuse. That gorilla’s a beast.
On Page 9, the Mirror says “Harambe was holding the boys’s hand… responding to Isaiah’s frightened cry”. Only when we reach paragraph 11 are we told that Isaiah was “dragged around the enclosure’s moat”.
The Mail also loads the dice against humanity, leading with another question: “Was this gentle giant trying to protect boy he took by the hand.” In other words, was Harmabe behaving like a caring human being? No. Harambe was a massive gorilla. He is kept in a cage surrounded by water, less to protect him from human being than to protect us from him.
Simon Barnes tells us: “Death seems a harsh punishment for a chance encounter with a naughty child.” Barnes says humans share 95% of our genes with gorillas, who “seem to have the capacity to experience emotions we think of as human.”
It is very difficult to find reliable data comparing the human genome to animal genome. The principal reason is that few animals have had their full genome sequenced. Even those that have cannot be easily compared in terms of percentages because the genomic length and chromosomal division can vary greatly from one species to another.
– Cats have 90% of homologous genes with humans, 82% with dogs, 80% with cows, 79% with chimpanzees, 69% with rats and 67% with mice. (source)
– Cows (Bos taurus) are 80% genetically similar to humans (source)
– 75% of mouse genes have equivalents in humans (source), 90% of the mouse genome could be lined up with a region on the human genome (source) 99% of mouse genes turn out to have analogues in humans (source)
– The fruit fly (Drosophila) shares about 60% of its DNA with humans (source).
– About 60% of chicken genes correspond to a similar human gene. (source)
Barnes adds: ” The ungorilla-like noises of the terrified child in Cincinnati might have confused Harambe and contributed to his ambiguous response to this difficult situation.”
To recap: Harambe did not call 911, 111, nor 999. But had he had his phone and a pocket to keep it in, he might have called for help. Maybe.