This weekend an incident at the Cincinnati Zoo tugged at everyone’s heartstrings on May 28th, with many taking to social media to voice their reactions about what is now being dubbed by thousands a “senseless death.”
Harambe, a 400-pound gorilla, was fatally shot after a four-year-old boy crawled past a railing and fell into the exhibit’s moat.
New video footage has since surfaced, showcasing that the gorilla was in fact “acting protectively,” of the little boy. The zoo director claimed that the boy was not under attack but they had to make a quick decision to ensure his safety.
Both the zoo and the parents have spoken out, but who is at fault?
Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard referred to the situation as “life threatening,” and while he confirmed that the boy was not currently under attack at the time, he did assess that the gorilla was “disoriented” and “behaving erratically.”
The zoo director also shared in a press conference that the team’s decision to kill the gorilla was the correct call, saying, “Looking back, we would make the same decision.”
The boy’s mother, Michelle Gregg, posted a message on Facebook expressing her gratitude that her son was safe and relieved that he was able to “walk away with a concussion and a few scrapes.”
“As a society, we are quick to judge how a parent could take their eyes off of their child and if anyone knows me, I keep a tight watch on my kids,” she continued in the statement, defending herself against claims she was a neglectant parent. “Accidents happen but I am thankful that the right people were in the right place today.”
The zoo director also expressed that tranquilizing the gorilla could have taken several attempts to be successful and would not go instantly into effect, leaving the boy in danger. The delayed effect of the tranquilizer is the reason why the decision was made to shoot the gorilla.
Meanwhile, thousands of mourners have taken to the zoo grounds and social media alike to protest the actions of the zoo. Additionally, more than 115,000 outraged people have signed a petition on Change.org calling for the boy’s parents “to be held accountable for their actions of not supervising their child.”
As reported, the zoo’s Gorilla World is closed until further notice.
Check out the new video clip above, displaying the gorilla holding the little boy’s hand before the zoo was forced to step in.
(Photo: Knut Harttrumpf/EyeEm/Getty Images)