Gorilla Shot in Cincinnati Zoo Would Have Killed Boy Without Intervention, Expert SaysGorilla Shot and Killed at Cincinnati Zoo After Boy, 4, Slips into Gorilla Enclosure

Children pause at the feet of a gorilla statue where flowers and a sympathy card have been placed, outside the Gorilla World exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Sunday, May 29, 2016, in Cincinnati. On Saturday, a special zoo response team shot and killed Harambe, a 17-year-old gorilla, that grabbed and dragged a 4-year-old boy who fell into the gorilla exhibit moat. Authorities said the boy is expected to recover. He was taken to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The Cincinnati Zoo’s 17-year-old gorilla Harambe was shot and killed on Saturday after a 4-year-old boy slipped into his enclosure, according to a statement on the park’s website.

The child climbed through a public barrier, falling into the Gorilla World exhibit’s moat. While two female gorillas were removed from the enclosure immediately, Harambe remained near the child, according to the statement. Video shows (warning: this content might be disturbing to some) Harambe grabbing onto the little boy and carrying him around the enclosure while onlookers screamed.

The Zoo’s Dangerous Animal Response Team determined that the situation was life-threatening, and decided to kill Harambe, according to the statement.

“The Zoo security team’s quick response saved the child’s life. We are all devastated that this tragic accident resulted in the death of a critically-endangered gorilla,” the zoo’s director Thane Maynard said in the statement. “This is a huge loss for the Zoo family and the gorilla population worldwide.”

The child was responsive after being recovered from the enclosure, but was still transported to the city’s Children’s Hospital Medical Center. According to the statement, the hospital is not releasing details on his condition.

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Maynard said in a press conference that the response team decided against using a tranquilizer because the drug would have taken effect too slowly, according to CNN.

Harambe, who weighed in at 400 pounds, celebrated his birthday Friday.


  • Fractions of a second deciding whether to kill or sedate the Gorilla?. That fraction the Gorilla could pick up the child like a stick and slam him against a wall.. I understand the compassion and most think sedation should have been used, but again fractions of a second between life or death. The verdicts not in yet on the mom, my feelings if she was on her cell phone not paying attention, she than holds responsibility. Kids do shoot in seconds sometimes, keep that in mind.. The result of coarse will end up in a law suit, a win win for the mom.

    • Anyone who lets their four year old fall into an enclosure where there have been no other incidents’ in 38 years should have their lawsuit tossed out like yesterday’s garbage. Then the “supervising” parent should be sent to parenting classes and be placed under supervision by the state.

  • It is sad on all accounts. No one that was not a part of the process has the right to asses blame. It obviously can happen because it did, and it should not be able to happen. Zoo’s are strange places. It is not a natural place for animals to live. I wouldn’t want to live in one. I also would not have wanted this story to have ended in the loss of this child’s life. The professionals made their decision. End of story.

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    LOL. So you’re trying to tell me that based on a 5-second video, you can assess that the kid was not in, nor wouldn’t be in, any danger? The zoo staff had to act fast, and couldn’t take the risk. That’s a 300-400 lb animal. Even dragging the kid around would have been enough to give him severe or deadly injuries. And if they tranquilized it, who’s to say the animal wouldn’t lash out and either accidentally or intentionally hurt the child?

  • There is no need to charge the mother! The zoo has a responsibility to keep people safe and not have barriers that children can penetrate in seconds. You sound ridilicious. The zoo made the best desist on in the situation. And the reason these animals are even endangered is because of white people who killed them for no reason other than conquest. So stop expressing hate. White children have fallen into these situations and we’re not charged with anything.

    • The mother 100% should be charged. She wasnt watching her child. She’s lucky it was that cage and not the tigers.

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        Abso-effing-lutely! She sucks. She essentially is responsible for the murder of an innocent animal.

        • Lmao. The reason why Gorilla’s are close to extinction has nothing to do with this situation. I think you need to look into the history of WHITES who have hunted and killed these majestic animals and placed them into this situation. The zoo did what was best for the safety of a human child. Things happen. The child was the priority.

      • She’s not being charged. So get over it. If a child and penetrate the zoo’s defenses then that is the zoo’s fault. Children get away from parents all the time. And the parent shouldn’t be charged. And spare me the fake indignation over an ANIMAL who the Zoo had to kill to ensure the safety of a human child. And let’s not forget the reason these animals are endangered is because of white man. Movies like King Kong are the types of films that have demonized these animals to the point of near extinction. The mother won’t be charged but she should sue the zoo.

    • People are mad at the parents for not watching their child properly so it never would of gotten into the same enclosure with the gorilla in the first place. Are you not able to figure that out?? There’s nothing ridiculous about that!

  • The least they can do is charge the mom with child endangerment – she needs held accountable for some of this. I watched the video, it looks like the gorilla was trying to protect the boy and he had to pay with his life 🙁 Sometimes, humans are the real animals!

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    I am embarrassed by the human race. The fact that so many value the animal’s life over a human’s is just another reminder to the complete lack of empathy that exists for others in our society. Wow.

    Then there are those who say the zoo should have tranquilized the gorilla and taken the risk … What?! The gorilla could have ripped him to shreds as animals are unpredictable.

    Then those who blame the parents…. most of you probably don’t have children and don’t understand it takes seconds for a kid to get into something or wander off. For those fellow parents out there criticizing and blaming the kid’s parents, you should be ashamed. As a parent, you know that, one second, you could be digging into your bag for something and, the next second, look up and your kid is gone. Don’t act like it hasn’t happened to you. Don’t all high and mighty. It would be different if the parent of this kid left him unattended, but there is no indication in any report that happened. It’s unrealistic to have eyes on your kid every second; it’s physically impossible unless you have some super power. Sometimes, a parent has to dig in their bag for something, or talk to someone, or tend to another kid. What if while the mom turned to look at something the kid walked away and, while she was trying to find him, he got deeper into climbing into the enclosure? Unless the reports prove wrong, I side with the zoo that they did the right thing. It is sad the animal had to be killed. However, given the situation, I agree with the actions they took.

    My 3 year old is a free spirit, and will roam. I have to have SHARP eyes on him, but I’m human and sometimes I have to look away for whatever reason…. can’t tell you how many times I look back and he’s has moved father away or wandered. It takes seconds. Kids are curious. Many kids have no fear. And all kids are damn fast.

  • I think that people want to hear from the parents and the zoo and they want them to take responsibility and maybe apologize for the way things turned out. Anybody’s child can get away from them and do things. No one had any idea that this could happen. It’s unfortunate and a series of mistakes allowed it to happen. Everyone involved should take responsibility for the mistakes and apologize. The kid is not old enough to know the consequences of his actions…the gorilla is not quite intelligent enough to know the consequences of his actions. Who’s left? The parents and the zoo. They should both take responsibility for this incident and explain their part in it. Why were the parents not watching and why was the kid able to even enter the gorilla’s exhibit? I think people are so upset because they don’t understand either of these things and they are not getting answers.

    • The Zoo needs to apologize not the parents. If a child and penetrate the zoo’s defenses in seconds that is the issue. The ZOO did what it felt was best in the circumstances.

      • it wasn’t in seconds. The boy purposely climbed over and under several fences. This wasn’t an accident, he was trying to get in.

        • I don’t care what he did he’s a child. If the enclosures are not secure that is the fault of the ZOO. Children will do things they don’t have judgement at that age. You don’t blame the child. The zoo has the responsibility to keep everyone safe and that means the animals and the humans……

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    Let me guess, the parent was on their cell phone. Ive seen parents park the kids in front
    Of an exhibit and become totally engrossed with the phone. Kids climbing on things they shouldn’t be or strollers rolling away as mom is sending a message on the phone!!!!!

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    The mother of the kid in the gorilla incident had the nerve to say “accidents happen”?!?! This isn’t the little kid falling and skinning his knee. She should have kept her mouth shut because now I hate her more and don’t feel one iota of sympathy for her.

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  • So tragic and TOTALLY preventable – SMH

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    Hopefully, the public outcry will stop this family from starting a GoFundMe page to help them recover from this “tragedy”.

    I’m sure they had a lawyer by that evening to sue the zoo, though. Disgusting. Be grateful that your negligence didn’t kill your child, learn from it, and move on!

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    The gorilla could have been protecting the child and the on lookers screaming did help

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    …SAD…that a beautiful (and endangered) animal – enjoying his own habitat and already in ‘captivity’/under controlled conditions ~ had to be taken down because of the negligence of a parent/guardian/caretaker. *YES*, once the incident was in progress…I *do* understand that the life of the innocent child was paramount and steps had to be taken to insure his safety…but I’m appalled at the lack of supervision that lead up to this tragedy having to happen in the first place.
    *YES* accidents happen, but this goes a bit ‘above & beyond’ the normal *kid accident*. I have raised three children/and now, help out with my precious grandson; had my kids’ friends ‘hang out’ at my house over and OVER again – as my kids were growing up; participated in my nephews/nieces lives; babysat many MANY more unrelated children – throughout my life; been an elementary school educator for over 30 years – where I supervised many field trips to zoos, museums, aquariums, etc…and never…*EVER* has a child fallen into a dangerous animal cage…on MY WATCH! I can’t even think of an incident where a child (mine or otherwise!) was even severely [THANKFULLY!] harmed/injured while under my watchful eye. AND YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY!?—because I was diligent, alert, attentive, responsible, and saw to it – with everything in my power – that I was keeping a watchful eye on supervising those children under my care. I wasn’t texting or on my cell, goofing off with my own friends, busy eating, distracted in other ways, walking away and ‘assuming’ others would watch the child/children under my care, etc…
    Not only is a magnificent gorilla, now deceased because of the carelessness of whoever was supposed to be supervising, keeping a watchful eye ~ on that little boy—but that boy, most assuredly…may be scarred (possibly physically…but, most assuredly – emotionally/mentally, by his ordeal). ALL BECAUSE SOMEONE THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE WATCHING HIM/GUARDING HIM/PROTECTING/GIVING HIM THEIR FULL TIME AND ATTENTION—WAS NEGLECTFUL. AND—I have *no doubts* this very person, will turn around and point fingers at EVERYONE but themselves, and sue the zoo, and everyone ELSE they can! ^shaking my head^…JUST ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THE “DON’T TAKE *ANY* RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN WELFARE/OR THE WELFARE OF OTHERS IN YOUR CARE” MENTALITY, OUR COUNTRY HAS FOSTERED!

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    • You sound crazy. The zoo is negligent if a child can easily penetrate their defenses and get into an enclosure that has dangerous animals. Children have fallen into these situations before and you don’t attack them for it or the parent. You might want to get some help for your mental illness. The reason why these animals are endangered is because of WHITE PEOPLE.

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        Excuse me [!?!?!?!shaking head at your absolutely absurdity]—…are you HONESTLY (sanely!?) saying that the parent/guardian has absolutely *NO* responsibility towards the safety/welfare of their child/the child – under their care!? I ^shutter^ at the thought you ARE a parent/or may become one in the FUTURE! {And…classy bringing RACE into it – as ‘if’ THAT had/has ANY bearing on the story…but it does tell me a lot about YOUR own ‘whacked’/oh poor down trodden me—RACIST mind set}…UMM-MMM…ERR-RRR…IN OTHER WORDS…THOSE WHO LIVE IN SHELTERED INSANE ASYLUMS…NEED NOT THROW STONES AT OTHERS…^’if’ you get my drift!^
        As…’if’ your opinion of me…matters to me…don’t know you/don’t care to know you…(I will *not* respond any further to you…rant on…LOON!)

        • Your comment is the one that uses race. You don’t determine who is negligent you were not there. The child penetrated the zoo’s defenses and the zoo had a responsibility to keep the child and the animal safe. The zoo shot the animal to save the child. But if you want to be concerned more about an animal
          Then let’s look at the reason why these animals are close to extinction???? White men have killed them with deforestation and hunting them because they were threatened by their size. So spare me. White children have been in the same situation and I didn’t hear this FAKE outrage about charges. You racists are powerless. Your petitions won’t bring charges for an accident.

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    Well, another “mother of the year” winner! I don’t want her or the child hurt in any way, but people need to take responsibility for their kids!!!! If you can’t, don’t have them. I’ve raised 2 sons on my own, no problems and now have 2 wonderful grandchildren! Again, no problems and we’ve all been to the zoo together! America is a great country, but parents like this keep giving us a bad name! Grow the f-up!

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    Regardless of whether the parents were negligent or it was purely an accident, the child fell. He was in great danger. There was no time to blame the parents. The security team did what they thought was the most appropriate thing to do with that particular situation at that particular time in order to save the child. If this was your child or your nephew or your brother, you will agree with their course of action.

  • This mom should be arrested for gross negligence. She is scum.

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    The mom should have “WATCHED HER SON ” What a stupid B. … I ….T … C …H. !!!!!!

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    Sad story. The Zoo did what was best for the child. I don’t think anyone would have wanted to see that child harmed.That mom should invest in strollers because this could have been a live tragedy.

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    What I would like is for the parent to express remorse, accept responsibility and acknowledge their role in the death of the and acknowledge their role in the death of this animal.
    I have yet to see that. The family did release a statement but did not even acknowledge the death of the gorilla. The mother posted on her Facebook page but never mentioned that this Gorilla had to die.
    People are furious because the parent made mistakes. And those mistakes have cost this animal it’s life.
    One day this child might grow up to be an incredibly depressed adult for having cause this animal to be killed.

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    There were four..,,, FOUR barriers this child tackled. It pities me that people make excuses for the parent. It is unreasonable, inexcusable and reckless that this child was able to tackle Four barriers.
    This mother has posted on her Facebook page that God saved her child. No apologies or remorse expressed on that page. What does it take for a parent to except culpability in their role in the outcome of the situation?

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