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This piece originally ran on June 1st, 2016. RIP Harambe!

Picture this. It’s Memorial Day weekend and you’re hanging out in your backyard. Your home. Where you live. Maybe your friends are coming over later for a BBQ, maybe you’ll just sit around naked and crush bananas. Next thing you know a 3-year-old boy appears in your bushes. Did he crawl through the fence? Did he jump over it? This is strange to you, because a toddler has never ventured into your yard before. Was this child abandoned? Do you have to take care of it now?

You remind yourself that the child services procedures portrayed in Big Daddy were wildly inaccurate, but you still want to help this poor kid. So you pick him up and move him to the shady part of the yard. You hang out with him for a while until you hear a commotion across the lawn. You look up, and…

The scene I just described was that of a gorilla being shot dead for no reason. And just when you thought Prince’s death would be the worst thing to happen this year.

Harambe, the world’s most famous and beloved gorilla, was 17 years-old when he was killed, which is supposed to be the age when you decide on which college to attend. A life cut short because a mother cared more about finding the right Snapchat filter than parenting her child.

According to the WWF, the population of western lowland gorillas has declined by 60 percent over the last 20 to 25 years. I have no idea how or why a professional wrestling organization has those stats, but they do. It is estimated that only 125,000 of these majestic beasts remain in existence, while the human population sits at 7 billion…and growing.

To put that in perspective, there are 56,000 human people — Dodger Stadium at full capacity — for every Western Lowland Gorilla. I don’t think it’s a stretch to deduct that Harambe’s life was worth that of 56,000 of us. And to put that in even more perspective, only 1,503 people died when the Titanic sunk. Will Leonardo DiCaprio make a movie honoring Harambe’s death? I don’t know…I guess we’ll see what type of environmentalist he really is.

So where do we go from here? Criminal charges against the distracted mother or the zoo’s sniper have yet to be announced, but there has been some talk of a lawsuit directed at the company specializing in easily penetrable fences for primate exhibits. But sadly none of these measures will bring Harambe back.
The average lifespan of a Western Lowland Gorilla is 35 years or more, which means a boy’s “life” was “saved” at the expense of another two decades of Harambe. The next time he’s about to make an impulsive decision and endanger himself, I hope he considers that there are 124,999 gorillas who didn’t choose to be endangered. Remember that.

Mike Stiriti

Mike Stiriti once dreamed of anchoring SportsCenter back when that was a thing. Now he just tries to be funny.

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