Quantcast

Rare Gorilla Shot Dead After 4-Year-Old Boy Slips Into Animal's Enclosure at Cincinnati Zoo

Animals

Officials at the Cincinnati Zoo shot and killed a rare gorilla Saturday after a four-year-old boy slipped into its enclosure.

The zoo said the situation was "life-threatening" so it took action and shot the 400lb gorilla.

"Tranquilizers do not take effect for several minutes, and the child was in imminent danger," Thane Maynard, director of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, said in a statement.

"On top of that, the impact from the dart could agitate the animal and cause the situation to get much worse. We are heartbroken about losing Harambe, but a child's life was in danger and a quick decision had to be made."

According to CNN:

Footage shot by a witness shows Harambe, the 17-year-old male gorilla, standing near the boy, who went under a rail, through wires and over a moat wall to get into the enclosure, according to the zoo. The footage later shows Harambe dragging the child through the water as the clamor of the crowd grows louder and increasingly panicked.

Zookeepers then shot the 450-pound western lowland gorilla with a rifle, rather than tranquilizing him.

The boy, who has not been identified, was taken to Children's Hospital and released later Saturday evening.

"We are so thankful to the Lord that our child is safe," the family of the boy said in a statement. "He is home and doing just fine. We extend our heartfelt thanks for the quick action by the Cincinnati Zoo staff. We know that this was a very difficult decision for them, and that they are grieving the loss of their gorilla. We hope that you will respect our privacy at this time."

The shooting and killing of the gorilla has sparked outrage on the Internet as many are questioning the zookeeper's decision to shoot the animal. According to the zoo, western lowland gorillas are critically endangered in the wild, numbering fewer than 175,000 with an additional 765 gorillas in zoos worldwide.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said gorillas are self-aware. They love, laugh, sing, play and grieve. Western lowland gorillas are gentle animals. They don’t attack unless they’re provoked.

PETA, with this tragedy in mind, is encouraging people to choose cruelty-free entertainment. They suggest people take a hike in the woods and watch wildlife in their natural habitat.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Undercover Investigation Exposes Shocking Neglect at Third Largest Pig Farm in U.S.

Scientists Uncover Array of Strange Animals in Cave That Has Been Sealed Off for 5.5 Million Years

Meet New York’s Newest Groundskeeping Crew

10 Extraordinary Places Saved by the Endangered Species Act

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

samael334 / iStock / Getty Images

By Ruairi Robertson, PhD

Berries are small, soft, round fruit of various colors — mainly blue, red, or purple.

Read More Show Less
A glacier is seen in the Kenai Mountains on Sept. 6, near Primrose, Alaska. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey have been studying the glaciers in the area since 1966 and their studies show that the warming climate has resulted in sustained glacial mass loss as melting outpaced the accumulation of new snow and ice. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By Mark Mancini

On Aug. 18, Iceland held a funeral for the first glacier lost to climate change. The deceased party was Okjökull, a historic body of ice that covered 14.6 square miles (38 square kilometers) in the Icelandic Highlands at the turn of the 20th century. But its glory days are long gone. In 2014, having dwindled to less than 1/15 its former size, Okjökull lost its status as an official glacier.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Members of Chicago Democratic Socialists of America table at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18. Alex Schwartz

By Alex Schwartz

Among the many vendors at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18 sat three young people peddling neither organic vegetables, gourmet cheese nor handmade crafts. Instead, they offered liberation from capitalism.

Read More Show Less
StephanieFrey / iStock / Getty Images

By Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD

Muffins are a popular, sweet treat.

Read More Show Less
Hackney primary school students went to the Town Hall on May 24 in London after school to protest about the climate emergency. Jenny Matthews / In Pictures / Getty Images

By Caroline Hickman

Eco-anxiety is likely to affect more and more people as the climate destabilizes. Already, studies have found that 45 percent of children suffer lasting depression after surviving extreme weather and natural disasters. Some of that emotional turmoil must stem from confusion — why aren't adults doing more to stop climate change?

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Myrtle warbler. Gillfoto / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Bird watching in the U.S. may be a lot harder than it once was, since bird populations are dropping off in droves, according to a new study.

Read More Show Less
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announces the co-founding of The Climate Pledge at the National Press Club on Sept. 19 in Washington, DC. Paul Morigi / Getty Images for Amazon

The day before over 1,500 Amazon.com employees planned a walkout to participate in today's global climate strike, CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled a sweeping plan for the retail and media giant to be carbon neutral by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris agreement schedule.

Read More Show Less

By Winona LaDuke

For the past seven years, the Anishinaabe people have been facing the largest tar sands pipeline project in North America. We still are. In these dying moments of the fossil fuel industry, Water Protectors stand, prepared for yet another battle for the water, wild rice and future of all. We face Enbridge, the largest pipeline company in North America, and the third largest corporation in Canada. We face it unafraid and eyes wide open, for indeed we see the future.

Read More Show Less