On May 28, 2016 a 17-year-old western lowland gorilla was killed. The gorilla was
shot by zoo officials after a small child the age of 4 had fallen into the gorilla's habitat. "The
boy was in 'imminent danger', leaving the zoo's Dangerous Animal Response Team with
no option but to shoot the 450-pound gorilla", said zoo director Thane Maynard said in a
statement on Facebook.
"We are heartbroken about losing Harambe, but a child's life was in danger and a quick
decision had to be made," he said.
Many critics were outraged at the event. Many blame the ignorance of the boy's mother
for not paying attention to her child. An online petition seeking "justice for Harambe"
through criminal charges earned more than 8,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.
Luckily, the young boy left a cincinnati hospital unhurt the day before the zoo reopened.
The gorilla exhibit was closed.
Shortly after, a video surfaced of the event and received over 15 million views on
YouTube blasting it into the spotlight.
I think that it's horrible that this happened so easily. This whole issue could have all been
easily avoided if there had been some sort of glass barrier, instead of a basic barrier that
could be easily passed. The mother should have taken better care of her child, and the
child should have known better than to get so close to the gorilla exhibit. I hope that this
whole experience will be taken as a message to improve the safety in zoos all over the world.