SFR 375: With Man Gone, Will There Be Hope For Gorilla?

–Next week is the last regular live broadcast of Strange Frequencies Radio. But that doesn’t mean we won’t continue producing episodes or, for that matter, that we won’t pop back in for a live special here and there.
–The Cincinnati zoo kills a gorilla to protect a small child who fell into its enclosure. We’ll break down the biggest viral story of the year and try to add a little reason to the discourse.
wolfpig–Why do stories involving zoo animal deaths get so much more attention than do stories of the homicides that happen each and every day on the streets?
–Rush Limbaugh, in his infinite wisdom, puts forth the old, tired, and thoroughly explained idea that evolution must not be real because gorillas haven’t turned into people. Seriously, he’s not really this ignorant, right? Is he just filling airtime and being outrageous for attention?
–RECOMMENDATION: For his fellow pro-wrestling fans, Jason recommends the documentary, “The Resurrection of Jake the Snake,” which is now streaming on Netflix.
–John Carpenter, the legendary director behind Halloween, criticizes the films his movie spawned, saving some of his most damning comments for Friday the 13th. But, is he right?
–Another media-driven cell phone cancer scare has hit the airwaves, and people are concerned. The fact is, the study the hype has come from is not conclusive, and you have very good reason to not be worried.
–A viral video of a “ghost” at an antique shop isn’t worth the hype it is getting.
–We open the SFR mailbag to clarify some comments we made on a recent episode.
–Jason gives a heads up to other true crime junkies about the upcoming Investigation Discovery series “The Vanishing Women,” which will focus on the dead and the missing women who may possibly be the victims of a serial killer in Chillicothe, Ohio.



About Jason Korbus

Friend, family member, possible werewolf. I co-host Strange Frequencies Radio, blog at Confidential Korbus, and generally walk among the weird. When I'm not doing busywork, I can usually be found with my nose in a book, my eyes glued to a glowing screen, or my ears tuned to The Ramones.
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2 Responses to SFR 375: With Man Gone, Will There Be Hope For Gorilla?

  1. Slim says:

    I grew up on the south side of Chicago and while I’ve never been to the zoo in discussion, I WAS a frequent visitor to the Brookfield Zoo, infamous for the incident in the 90s when a kid went into THEIR gorilla enclosure. That story fortunately ended better for a few reasons: the gorilla that the kid encountered was female, so less aggressive than a male, and she had been trained by keepers to bring her baby to them at the keeper door. She did the same with the kid that fell in. (Their exhibit hasn’t changed much and nobody’s fallen in since.)

    I’m guessing this zoo had a similar setup to the Brookfield, with fairly open air enclosures. The Brookfield is prized for its largely cageless exhibits- it makes great use of pits and trenches to separate visitors from animals. The Brookfield’s gorilla exhibit is set 15-20 feet below the footpath. There’s a ~4 foot high fence/rail with impassable gaps along the whole exhibit. It’s set up this way for a lot of reasons- it’s less stressful for the animals and makes it an overall more pleasant experience for the humans. And that’s very important- the primary function of American zoos is raising funds for conservation. The happier the visitors and the healthier the animals, the more conservation that happens. I’m not saying there can’t or shouldn’t be more safety features (like, if not a net over the whole exhibit, then one extending a few feet past the ledge at least) but it’s completely understandable that these exhibits are set up how they are. Zoos are intensely important to conservation!!!

    I think the parents were absolutely negligent. From what I’ve heard, complete strangers were trying to keep the kid off the fence and told the parents their kid was trying to climb the fence. If your kid does something like this, you’re absolutely to blame for not stopping them. Your ONLY job at the zoo is to watch your children! If you can’t watch them, at least get a kid leash or something. Any number of bad things could have happened to a poorly supervised 3 year old in a crowd full of strangers. But neglect? No. I don’t think the parents should be brought up on charges and they certainly don’t deserve death threats. But they’re far from blameless. Something similar happened in my hometown Memorial Day weekend. Two kids drowned when they got sucked under by a dam. The little brother wanted to touch the dam, SAID so, was told to stay out of the water, and of course he went in anyway. And then when he got sucked under, his 13 year old sister went in to try and save him and also drowned. Where were the parents? Close enough to hear the son telling them exactly what he was about to do and tell him not to go in but negligent enough to not stop either child from going in? How is the gorilla thing any different? I mean, we all know dams and rivers are dangerous, and I doubt there was a giant net over the river to keep kids out, and the parents knew all of this when they took their kids there. Is the state/park service to blame for those children’s deaths? How many fences and walls and nets and foam pads do we have to put into the world before the parents are held accountable? These things are very sad but the parents’ jobs are to be parents. There are many, many more deadly things in the world than just gorillas and there usually aren’t fences and trenches keeping them from us. In my opinion, it is the zoo’s job to safely contain their animals, and it’s the visitors’ job to do the same with their kids.

    It’s sad that they shot the gorilla, but they couldn’t have safely tranqed him. And there’ no such thing as an instant tranq- it’s a tricky business. Tranquilizers have to be individually measured out according the animals body mass, and variables like stress and adrenaline make huge differences in how quickly it takes effect. If it brings the gorilla down instantly, the gorilla’s dead. Intellectually, the gorilla is more ecologically valuable, but in a human society, the child obviously always takes precedence. It’s a shame any of this happened.

    Sorry for the essay. I’m passionate about biology and conservation and have a lot of zookeepers and biologists in my social circle. It pains me to see zoos so instantly demonized by so many people when they are such benevolent entities.

    • Slim says:

      I want to clarify- when i say “instantly demonized by so many people” I am referring to zoo abolitionists, not you guys.

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