Vet Ethics: Harambe’s death: zooming in on zoos

The shooting of a 17-year-old male gorilla at the Cincinnati zoo after a child fell into his enclosure provoked a huge international reaction. The reaction was comparable to previous outpourings of anger and sadness following the killing of Cecil the lion by an American trophy hunter, and the killing of Marius the young giraffe by the Copenhagen zoo because he was surplus to breeding requirements and not required for display purposes.
In fact, Harambe’s killing generated a variety of emotions and responses. Obviously, people were upset at the loss of the gorilla’s life. Part of this response may have been bound up with the fact that gorillas are endangered. But another key aspect of the response was that gorillas are highly intelligent and emotional animals. Someone who knew Harambe said that he was always thinking. Animals like Harambe, we were reminded, have unique personalities. His killing was called a tragedy and even likened to homicide by some people. Continue reading Vet Ethics: Harambe’s death: zooming in on zoos

Happy event in breeding program

photoA Very Important Primate arrived at Melbourne Zoo when western lowland gorilla Kimya delivered her firstborn in the Gorilla House night dens.

Zoo Director Kevin Tanner welcomed the first gorilla birth since 2000, the result of the international introduction of two young gorillas born on the opposite sides of the world thanks to the endangered species breeding program for western lowland gorillas.

The birth took place in the presence of the baby’s father Otana and the three older females in the group, Julia, G-Ann, and Yuska. Continue reading Happy event in breeding program

Taronga makes Mjukuu welcome

Picture: Lisa RidleyA new gorilla named Mjukuu was born at Taronga Zoo on Tuesday October 28.

The baby boy was born to female Mbeli and male Kibali, and things are going well according to gorilla keeper Vera Nedved.

“Kibali is starting to take his role of silverback more seriously,” she said.

“He briefly checked his son after the birth and now he is protecting and guarding Mbeli; our vet can vouch for it, having witnessed Kibali’s growing protective silverback skills.”

Nedved said Mbeli is under supervision, and a human obstetrician was on standby in case of emergency or birth complications.

The birth went smoothly, the baby is suckling well, and the new arrival represents the “culmination of the hard work of many people.” Continue reading Taronga makes Mjukuu welcome