On May 28, 2016, a three-year-old boy climbed into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden and was grabbed and dragged by Harambe, a 17-year-old western lowland gorilla.
Over the next 10 minutes, Harambe became increasingly “agitated and disoriented” by the screams of onlookers.He dragged the child through the water, occasionally propping him up when he sat, or pushing him down when he stood
Afraid for the boy’s life, zoo officials made the decision to kill the gorilla, doing so with a single rifle shot. Cincinnati firefighters said the boy was between Harambe’s legs when the shot was fired.
Harambe was killed one day after his 17th birthday. The boy was given a trauma assessment and transported to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; his injuries were non-life-threatening.
Dr Sharon Redrobe, chief executive of Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire, said the death was ‘tragic’ but added that the zoo had little choice but to take action.
Regarding the incident, the mother of a child who fell into a gorilla Spoke out saying: ‘accidents happen’.
Michelle Gregg said: ‘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.
‘Accidents happen but I am thankful that the right people were in the right place today.’
Some observers said that it was unclear whether Harambe was likely to harm the child. Others called for the boy’s parents or the zoo to be held accountable for the gorilla’s death