An interesting story of today is to hear of the four- years old boy who fell into the moat surrounding a gorilla enclosure at Cincinnati Zoo. The gorilla, a 100lb (180kg) 17-year-old male western lowland male named Harambe, grabbed the child, dragging him trough the shallow moat.
He was probably not going to be aggressive to the child — he was no threat, after all — but the chances were reasonably high that the boy might have been badly injured or even die. A tranquillising dart might have been too slow to take effect, so the keeper took the decision very quickly to shoot the gorilla. It was a no-brainer.
But what if there were a situation where the last remaining group of western lowland gorillas were pitted against an equivalent number of humans? Which one would you save?
There’s an argument that the gorillas had a few genes the knowledge of which, one day might be of enormous benefit to the future survival of humans as a whole. But it is no use saying that the DNA of gorillas could have been preserved for thousands of years after their demise because we will still like to know just how versatile their genes had been in life.