Cincinnati Zoo Gorilla Protecting Child Was Shot & Killed

Cincinnati Zoo Gorilla Protecting Child Was Shot & Killed
Silverback Gorilla Andrea Wright / Flickr CC BY 2.0

It was supposed to be an ordinary Sunday stroll at a local zoo for a Cincinnati family before their 3-year-old fell into a giant gorilla’s enclosure. Although the kid had been recovered unharmed, the 450-pound gorilla didn’t make it alive, as zookeepers had to shoot the animal dead.


After the incident, video footage and statements from those who witnessed the heartbreaking incident said otherwise. Some witnesses said the gorilla was actually “protecting” the kid instead of “harming” it, ABC News reported.

Heroic Act

Speaking to ABC News, Brittany Nicely said that from what she saw, the gorilla did not show any signs of aggression toward the child. Instead, she thought it was the screaming crowd that complicated the situation, adding that the animal wasn’t even aware that the chill fell into its entrapment.

“The gorilla rushed the boy, but did not hit the boy. He almost was guarding the boy, was protecting him. The gorilla wasn’t hitting him, wasn’t hurting him. He was curious. He was checking him out, looking at his hands. The gorilla was not, in my eyes being harmful. However, it is a 400-pound gorilla … so his intentions of not harming him still may have because of the size difference,” Nicely was quoted as saying by ABC News.

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Who’s To Blame?

But Kim O’Connor, one of those who shot the videos, told NBC News that he saw the gorilla, named Harambe, drag the kid further into its moat. But it wasn’t clear whether the gorilla showed aggression toward the child. It was also shown in the video that some people from the crowd were shouting and screaming, which could possibly have contributed to the behavior of the animal to pull the kid away from the crowd.

The same gesture of the gorilla pulling the child further into the moat was interpreted as an aggression by the responding team, who shot the animal dead.

Harambe, a Western lowland silverback, is considered an endangered species. Hence, having to kill the hapless animal was indeed a tough decision to make, authorities said. The kid’s parents already expressed their sympathy for losing the ape, but thanked those who rescued their child.

An outrage is currently doing the rounds online, blaming the mother’s negligence and failure to watch over the child that resulted to the killing of the animal.

Also Read: Don’t Spank Your Kids – Study

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