Posts Tagged ‘ zoo ’

The Cincinnati Zoo Incident with Harambe; a few thoughts…

First, I want everyone who is not a zookeeper, member of zoo staff, or primate behaviorist to sit down and take a really long deep breath.

Second, I want everyone who is not a parent to do the same.

Third, I want the rest of you to pay really close attention to the following:

Everyone; say Om for me breath in, breath out. Ommmmmmm.

Okay, now that we are a bit calmer (I hope) I would like to discuss the tragedy that happened at the Cincinnati Zoo on May 29, 2016. You all know what happened. A human child got into the Gorilla Enclosure and the zoo fatally shot Harambe the 17 year old male silverback gorilla who would not move away from the child.

THE ZOO MADE THE RIGHT DECISION.

My absolute sincerest condolences go out to the Cincinnati Zoo family.

I want you non-keepers to understand something; we love our animals. Really and truly. They are literally part of our family. I can only imagine how hard it must have been to make that call; but it was the correct call. The keepers knew it, the zoo knew it. They followed the very correct protocol and kept that child safe. That doesn’t mean that the keepers arent in pain and grieving the loss.No one asked to be put in that situation that day. They made the best decision based on the information at hand and they did it swiftly. Part of being a keeper is having to make quick decisions on your feet a lot. We are used to quickly assessing a situation and coming up with the best ideas. We have protocols and drills for these exact scenarios. The keepers got the other gorillas secured away in holding and did what they had to do to protect that child. At the expense of there own feelings. Can you put aside your personal feelings and shoot someone you love for the safety of another? Can you?

If they hadn’t, or if they had not acted swifter, or if anything else had gone wrong; and that child had died or been seriously injured… what do you think the public would be out-crying about then?

“But what about tranquilizers!” I hear you type furiously. Let me explain something; tranqs don’t work IRL like they do in movies. A large animal can sometimes take 20-30 minutes to go down, or longer. Most of the time it’s not one shot and done boom on the ground. It can take even longer if the animal is rushing on adrenaline. If at all. Think for a moment; if this was your child, would you want to stand anxiously as an unpredictable and intensely strong wild animal has a hold of your child waiting for a tranq to kick in? Seeing the animal possibly become confused and be more likely to hurt your child? Of course not.

“Well those parents should be more watchful! It’s negligence!” I hear you continue to angrily pound away at your computer saying.

Okay, all non-parents, let me explain to you: you can’t control¬† kids. You can try and watch them as close as possible and teach them whats dangerous and whats not. At the end of the day you can’t watch your child every moment. People make mistakes, turning away for a moment you might lose a child in a large crowd. It doesn’t make you a negligent parent; it makes you a human. Four year olds are curious and love to explore and have zero sense of self preservation. That family just almost lost there child. Now that mother has to read all over the internet a bunch of strangers calling for her head. Can you empathize with that and feel compassion for her? Can you?

I won’t even get started on the throngs of people angrily typing about “the cruelty of animals in zoo’s” because in this day and age there is just no reason for that kind of ignorance and complete blindness to the facts of the matter. That is an entirely separate blog post of which I don’t have time to type right now. Suffice to say for right now; WITHOUT ZOO’S AND ZOOKEEPERS, GORILLAS (and a plethora of innumerable other species)¬† WOULD ALREADY BE EXTINCT. Ruminate on that awhile.

I get it. You are all looking to blame…. someone… anyone. This event is upsetting and tragic. I sincerely wish everyone would stop making a tragic and unfortunate incident worse by all the sh*t-throwing. Your all acting like lesser primates. Take your outrage and your petitions and whatnot and kindly think about how you are just making a sad story even sadder; for everyone.

P.S.

Please stop anthropomorphizing Harambe. This is not a Disney cartoon. He was fully capable and could certainly have severely injured/killed that child at any moment. Again, unless you are not a primate specialist please stop talking about Harambe like he was about to hand over the child over the gate while Phil Collins music swells in the background. Have a little sense please.

A Brief Catch-You-Up

Hello Hello Again Internet-land!

Here I am again. With a 6 month old asleep on my chest, a 2 year old napping in bed and a 4 year old having quiet play-time.

Yes, we did it again. Little Gooey joined Mogwai and Pumpkinhead in our wonderful family of five humans and two felines. She came comparably quickly a few days before Christmas. Hubby then promptly got himself neutered. Except; the way they do it to humans so really not a “neuter.” I will perhaps write a blog about her birth story later.

I am back where I belong zookeeping again as well. I found a wonderful facility that has been so flexible to allow me to continue to spend the majority of my time with the kids; but still let me work enough to be sane and have some of my pre-baby identity back. I am very pleased with my current work situation.

We started our homeschooling journey a few months back. Well, I started it as I am doing all of the preparatory work. We have been introducing the concept of schooling at home to Pumpkinhead and she seems fine so far. We don’t officially start until September 1st. I will try to blog about it. We have a lot of reasons for homeschooling, none of which I am going to go into with this entry.

Hubby is enjoying his creative freedom at work and getting to do what he loves; cook for people and make them happy.

We celebrated five years of marriage this year. Hooray! Went to the spa together, got a fancy-schmancy upscale hotel room. Ended up with Gooey staying with us that night as she wouldn’t eat for Gramma and wouldn’t sleep. Such is having kids! We still had an amazing time and I can not even begin to imagine how I got so lucky as to have the life I have now.

We also a while back moved into a better and bigger apartment with an amazing back yard.

I also turned 30 this year… mixed feeling on that of course. On one hand, looking back at my accomplishments and what I have lived through I feel pretty proud. On the other hand I feel like I have so much more to do! For now, happy in my space.

January 2015

January 2015

A Great Conversation

At my job last night working the graveyard I ran into a young lady who really made my night.

It was probably about 4 am and like me she was awake and busy. We began chit-chatting about this and that and she mentioned her studies in animal behavior, she is currently working on her Bachelors degree. I asked her if she planned to go into zookeeping and she enthusiastically said “yes!”

Of course I then spent the next hour having a wonderful conversation with this up and coming potential keeper. Everything from zoo internal politics to best brands of boots and work socks. The bonds we form with the animals, the unexpected highs and lows and of course some of the more comical aspects of keeping. We discussed the difference between an animal caretaker and an animal collector, the importance of networking, AAZK, and conferences, the sadness at losing an animal for any reason but the ability to know what is the best choice and how to deal with that. Whales and elephants in captivity, moral duty vs. wild population and saving species. The horror stories and the caution of always keeping your wits about you. We also spoke of my own path and how I realized quite quickly after my daughter was born that I was becoming a liability simply because I couldn’t maintain that level of focus while raising a small child. We spoke about how I can’t wait to get back into it in a few years when the kids are ready.

She took down my email and I hope to hear from her on her progress in the field. She certainly had that passion and fire for it. She seemed very interested in all of my so-called wisdom. It felt good to be mentoring someone in a subject I care about again. It was a very pleasant night. I am so happy that even though I am not directly affecting my field at the current moment, perhaps in some small way I can help influence its future development.

Currently listening to Amanda Palmer and enjoying my evening with the kids (despite my cold.)

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