When she was in her 20s, Amanda Donoghue, of Tallahassee, FL, was a zookeeper. Now a mom of two and a photographer, Donoghue, like just about everyone else on the planet, was horrified when a 3-year-old boy managed to slip away from his family and get into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. The tragedy that followed--the little boy hurt, Harambe the gorilla killed--struck her particularly hard since the bigger apes had always been her favorites when she worked at the zoo.
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"Gorillas are kind, curious, and sometimes silly, but they are also very large, very strong animals,” she wrote in a Facebook post that has been shared nearly 2 million times. A 400-pound gorilla like Harambe has the strength of 10 adults--and, after watching the video, she concluded that the boy was in danger. "“Harambe was most likely not going to separate himself from that child without seriously hurting him first,” Donoghue wrote. And stunning him would have just made the animal more agitated. "Gorillas hate when you point things at them, as their experience with guns usually involves veterinarians, during their annual health checks."
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But instead of blaming anyone--a toxic social media game, she called it--Donoghue made a plea for people to channel their outrage into working for safer zoo enclosures and helping protect these magnificent, endangered creatures. The easiest way to start: supporting your local (accredited) zoo by becoming a volunteer.
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