Jun 22, 2016

    Don't blame animal when lives are lost

    THE world was shocked when it learnt of the toddler who was attacked and dragged underwater by an alligator at Disney World Resort in Florida.

    So much for Disney World being the happiest place on earth.

    Lane Graves was playing in the Seven Seas Lagoon when he was attacked by the reptile on June 14.

    The toddler's father rushed into the shallow water to wrestle the boy from the alligator but was unsuccessful.

    Lane's body was found a day later, not far from where he was grabbed. The cause of death was due to drowning and traumatic injuries.

    At least six alligators have been pulled from the lagoon and euthanised but officials have not said if the reptile responsible for killing the toddler was among them.

    I do not think the alligators deserve to be killed.

    The lagoon was their home and I feel that Disney World should have taken more precautionary steps to ensure an attack such as this did not happen.

    The gators did not deserve to be euthanised. Instead, they should have been relocated to a safer place.

    Before this terrible incident, the majority of visitors were not aware of the resident gators in the lagoon.

    There were "no swimming" signs nearby but there were no warnings to indicate alligators could be present.

    I would think a "beware of alligators" sign would have done a good job in warning people not to get too close to the water.

    A mother, Jennifer Venditti, shared pictures of her three-year-old son, Channing, wading into the lagoon on Tuesday night, just an hour before Graves was attacked.

    She did not think twice about having her son splash around. Graves' parents also probably did not think much of it.

    I cannot help but compare this case with the recent one in Cincinnati Zoo where a four-year-old child fell into a gorilla enclosure that led to Harambe, a western lowland gorilla, being killed.

    There was an outcry over Cincinnati Zoo's decision to shoot Harambe, with many saying that the primate was protecting the child.

    Although I love animals, Ithink that the zoo made the right decision in that case. I would not sacrifice an innocent child's life to save an animal.

    If it were my loved one in that gorilla pen being dragged around in the water, I would want the zoo staff to do everything they could to save the person I love.

    I am sure that if killing a gator could have saved two-year-old Graves, the authorities would have done it.

    But I would prefer if no lives were lost.

    In the case of Harambe, I can understand their concern that sedating the animal may aggravate it, which may be dangerous for the child. I would not want to make any moves that will risk the life of a child.

    But we need to play our part in educating our children. Children are naturally curious, and they should be taught that the animals they see in zoos can be dangerous. They are not pets. In fact, these animals belong in the wild, not a cage.

    The incident should not have happened in the first place. The enclosure should have had more safety barriers, and zoo officials should have responded faster.

    I can only hope that organisations will learn from these mistakes.

    Looking back at both incidents, I cannot help but feel that perhaps it is humans that are to blame.

    Does a gorilla really belong caged up in a zoo?

    Should Disney have built its resort so close to an alligator-infested lagoon?

    Perhaps these incidents happen because humans are the ones who are encroaching on animal territory, their homes.