Harambe the Gorilla Shot When Small Child Invades his Space

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Courtesy Tribune News Service

DeShawn Smith, Staff Reporter

On May 28, a little boy, around the age of four, infiltrated a gorilla exhibit at the Cinncinnati Zoo. Harambe, the gorilla, went towards the kid and grabbed the little boy’s leg. At first Harambe was just holding on to the leg of the boy but with all screaming and yelling of the people around, he became agitated, and began to drag the boy around in the shallow water of the moat (as seen on video from a witness on CNN).

The 450 pound gorilla was dragging the boy across the water for 10 minutes. The Cincinnati Zoo officials decided they couldn’t do anything but shoot the loved and endangered gorilla. The zoo’s Dangerous Animal Response Team (DART), in weighing the child’s safety, decided that it would take too long to tranquilize the gorilla.  

Throughout all the dragging through the water the little boy was not seriously injured.

Even though it was a frightening scene, the question remains: how did the kid get into the exhibit and what were the parents doing? The Cincinnati police said they would investigate the actions of the parents/guardians, to see what lead the kid to end up in the gorilla’s home.

“After the review, we will determine if charges need to be brought forward. If it is determined charges need to be brought forward, we would then discuss it with the Hamilton County prosecutor’s office,” said the police spokeswoman Tiffaney Hardy according to CNN.

According to authorities, the mother was with the child as he slipped past a fence and fell down into the gorilla’s home.

The timespan of the investigation was not given by Julie Wilson, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office. The AZA is an accrediting agency (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) that has said it will also help investigate on the Harambe case. Rob Vernon a spokesman of AZA said, “We’ll of course be taking a closer look at that working with Cincinnati to figure out what happened and make sure we can firm that up so it doesn’t happen again.”

The mother of the child who was dragged by the gorilla is in the center of most of the conflict according to CNN. Millions of people have heard of the story and some are very upset about the death of the endangered animal. Some say the mother should be held responsible for the actions that happened to protect her son. “Justice for Harambe” is the motto of an online petition which earned more than 100,000 signatures in less than two days.

Tyon Skannel, a Junior at Indian River, said, “I think the mother should be held accountable for the death of the gorilla. And should be accountable for the child leaving her supposed ‘sight’. This is wrong and should have never happened with good care of the child.”