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Gorillas In their Natural Habitat- And One Who Was Not So Lucky!
A Death In A Zoo
Wild animals should be left in their natural habitat!
I Cincinatti Zoo, May 2016, a beautiful silverback gorilla was shot! The reason? A small boy had fallen into his enclosure and there was a fear that he would be hurt by the animal, whose name was Harambe. There was a lot of conjecture as to whether this was bound to happen but Harambe lost his life anyway because people were "just not sure"- which I felt was not a good enough answer! Harambe should never have been kept in a zoo but left to live his life in the freedom of his natural habitat. The question I have is, how long was the child unsupervised by its mother before this happened since the barriers to the enclosure were so strong it would have taken the child a long time to get through? And does this not point to the fact that a lot of parents don't supervise their children properly?
Harambe was a lowland gorilla,who,according to Natural Geographic magazine, are usually found in the vast lowlands of Central Africa, and are the most widespread and numerous of all gorillas,with smaller family groups than other gorillas. Being herbivorous, their diet mainly consists of shoots, leaves, and fruit and, in the drier months,termites and ants make up the main bulk of their food. The total population is thought to be around 100,000,inhabiting the dense and remote areas of forest in the Congo region where large swampy areas provide necessary protection from predators including man! The hunting trade, habitat loss and disease have all posed a threat to their welfare, especially the outbreak of the ebola disease, which killed thousands.
Their cousins, the mountain gorillas, number just 700, and about half of them inhabit the mountains of Central Africa, living on the volcanic slopes of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. There are several conservation initiatives in place in the area but also major threats to their welfare from habitat loss and poaching. Mountain gorillas can be recognised by their longer hair and shorter stature than their lowland cousins and, although they can climb trees, they usually stay on the ground in groups of up to thirty individuals which are lead by a dominant male, (Silverback) who organises activities such as eating, resting and moving about the home range. So their lifestyle is really much more regimented than that of the lowland gorillas. Although being normally calm and non-aggressive, when they are disturbed they will resort to chest pounding and throwing things to show their physical power, so any unwelcome guests will have second thoughts! The diet of mountain gorillas is much the same as the others, being vegetarian and including wild celery and tree bark. They are also known to be very intelligent and have been known to be able to learn sign language.
And so, coming back to gorillas in Zoos, National Geographic, along with several animal welfare groups, asserts that no wild animal should be kept in captivity where they are robbed of everything that is natural and important to them, most especially their freedom! N.G states that it is farcical to say these animals are bred in zoos to save them when they are actually being exploited.Wild animals do not belong behind bars where many zoos use drugs to control what they deem as "undesirable behaviour", when it is probably a reflexion of their unhappy state.According to National Graphic zoos should work on protecting the animals' habitat and the animals themselves against poaching instead of locking them away. Because zoos and circuses make a lot of money from exhibiting animals, the practice would not come to an end quickly but then again, with people power, who knows?