The shooting of a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo has spurred national outrage at the gall Zoo officials showed in protecting a child getting leg-dragged by a 450 lb killing machine.
The gorilla was actually trying to protect the black child from the white zookeepers and was killed in the process. Smh #RIPHarambe
— Isa Ibn (@IsaIbnOfficial) May 30, 2016
The whole nation came together to discuss, debate, and mourn the fate of one gorilla. Just like when a US Marine was killed on the front lines in Iraq three months ago. Oh wait a second, that second story didn’t get much attention at all.
The sad reality is that sometimes the life or death of an animal just matters a bit more in the media than the lives of us hairless apes.
Here’s some of the best examples:
1. Tilikum the Orca
SeaWorld’s lovable part-time performer, part-time sperm bank, part-time serial killer, is clearly more valuable than all the people he has killed.
So far Tilikum’s murdered three people without any repercussions, primarily because his sperm is worth millions.
The first kill was of a trainer — and like a Catholic priest he was just relocated to Orlando. The second was a trespasser and Darwin Award winner who sneaked into his tank. Finally, after the third kill — another trainer, after a show — SeaWorld finally put a stop to Tilikum’s live performances… for a whole year.
Well at least the trainers didn’t have to get near Tilikum after he killed more people than OJ — except of course to extract his golden sperm by hand.
2. Leo the Bichon Frise
In a 2000 road-rage incident in San Jose, a man picked up Leo and threw him to his death in oncoming traffic.
The incident became a national story raising more money and attracting more media attention than the missing children in the area. (Some $120,000 was donated to find the killer.) When the dog murderer was eventually caught, he was given the maximum three-year sentence for the crime.
3. Cecil the Lion
Cecil was the tourists’ favorite male lion in Zimbabwe, and his 2015 trophy killing sparked far more international outrage than Robert Mugabe’s human rights violations ever did.
The dentist who killed Cecil lured him off the animal sanctuary with bait and shot him with an arrow before finally killing the wounded lion 40 hours later with a rifle.
Although the dentist did not get prosecuted for the killing, he did have to suffer a rabid social media hate campaign and eventually closed down his dental practice.
Cecil The Lion's killer, Walter Palmer, will be greeted with this when he arrives for work today
— Andrew Bloch (@AndrewBloch) July 29, 2015
Cecil’s death prompted US Fish and Wild Life to add two species of lion to the endangered species list, and multiple airlines changed their policies forbidding the transport of trophy animals.
4. Travis the Chimpanzee
In 2009, Travis the wine-drinking, Xanax-popping, domesticated chimpanzee attacked a woman, ripping off her hands and face.
The responding police officer, Frank Chiafari shot Travis dead on site, perhaps saving the woman’s life.
While Chiafari almost certainly made the right call, not everyone agreed. Morgan Fairchild, who co-starred with Travis the Chimp in an Old Navy commercial, called Travis’ killing “a sin.”
Chiafari had to go to therapy over the incident, the image of the faceless woman imprinted in his mind, but was denied workman’s comp by his department.
5. Rin Tin Tin the German Shepard
Rin Tin Tin is the only addition who actually deserves to be on the list. In the dog’s short 14 years he lived more than most of us will in 80.
This international movie star appeared in 27 films and even won the most votes for Best Actor in the first ever Academy Awards only to be robbed of the Oscar by a specist Academy.
When Rin Tin Tin died, radio programs were interrupted to relay the news. The following day newspapers across the country wrote long obituaries, and an hour-long radio special aired to memorialize the dog.
Rin Tin Tin’s body was eventually shipped overseas to be buried at his birthplace in France.