By now, you're probably familiar with the news story earlier this year about a young boy who fell into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. According to video footage, a 400-pound western lowland gorilla grabbed the child and dragged him around the habitat's moat. Zoo officials had to make the difficult decision to shoot and kill the 17-year-old silverback named Harambe to protect the child. The event was scary and tragic, and the potential impact his death on the species is just one of the many reasons you shouldn't dress your kid like Harambe this Halloween.
Trick-or-treaters have been dressing up like animals since the beginning of Halloween time, but a Harambe costume is simply poor taste. His death continues to be controversial, sparking a debate between those who feel that the primate should not have been killed, and those who agree with the zoo's decision to save the child's life. There is also a fear that the gene pool of western lowland gorillas in captivity is at risk. According to the Washington Post, Harambe was moved to the Cincinnati Zoo as part of a plan to prevent inbreeding of captive gorillas. The Washington Post also reported that the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists western lowland gorillas as a "critically endangered species."
Dressing your child as Harambe is disrespectful to all of the scientists and conservation experts who have raised and loved Harambe and primates like him. Instead of mocking this terrible situation, you should teach your child to be sensitive to this loss of life. "It's very hard to protect and save an endangered species if you do not have compassion or empathy for it," Wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin told CBS News. "And, you're not going to have that compassion and empathy if you have no connection or understanding of it."
Finally, a Harambe Halloween costume is discourteous to the child who fell in the enclosure, his parents, as well as to everyone who witnessed the tragedy. It was a difficult experience for everyone in the zoo that day, including several children who were in attendance. According to CNN, witnesses reported hearing the gunshot as they were escorted away from the scene.
Be kind, compassionate, and empathetic this Halloween, and skip the Harambe costume.