NFL star Benjamin Watson, who plays the tight end for the Baltimore Ravens, is saddened that 17-year-old gorilla Harambe from the Cincinnati Zoo had to be put down to save a four-year-old boy who fell into its pen on Saturday. However, he believes that zoo authorities made the right call.
Harambe's death has sparked controversy with animal rights activists crying foul over the zoo's decision to kill the 400-pound gorilla.
The Cincinnati-based Stop Animal Exploitation NOW even accused the zoo of violating the Animal Welfare Act because its barrier for the exhibit was unable to keep the child out, according to The Christian Post.
But despite what these groups are saying, Watson says those in charge of Cincinnati Zoo made the right call in killing the gorilla.
"Sometimes kids are disobedient and run off in the blink of an eye. And sometimes parents are negligent," Watson writes on his Twitter account (@BenjaminSWatson). "Not sure what transpired at the zoo in Cincinnati but I do know that given the circumstances — a child in the clutch of a gorilla — the zoo authorities made the tough but correct decision to act swiftly and save the child's life, the human life."
In Watson's opinion, if the barrier blocking off Harambe's exhibit was up to standard, then the young boy's parents have a lot to answer for and they should offer the zoo some sort of compensation for the loss of its animal.
"It's sad such a beautiful animal had to die though. Especially one that's endangered and 'minding his own business' in captivity," he further writes.
Celebrity zookeeper Jack Hanna, the director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo, also agrees with Watson's thoughts regarding the matter. Given his knowledge of animals, Hanna says things could have taken a turn for the worse had zoo authorities not acted swiftly to kill the gorilla.
"When I first saw him jerk that child and go through the water with him, [I wondered] why is he doing that. If you look at the face on this animal and you know about gorillas, that is something you don't want to see from a gorilla, trust me," Hanna tells CNN. "I have seen a gorilla, like this one, take a coconut that takes a hatchet to open up, they can squish it like a marshmallow."