A gorilla was shot and killed by zookeepers, on the grounds that the animal was a danger to 4-year old Isaiah, who is now doing “just fine.”
“We extend our heartfelt thanks for the quick action by the Cincinnati Zoo staff,” the family said through a statement, Cincinnati.com reports. “We know that this was a very difficult decision for them, and that they are grieving the loss of their gorilla.”
The boy had fallen 12-feet into the moat in the enclosure. A video shows the gorilla dragging the boy around in the waters.
— Amber Soler (@Amber_Soler) May 29, 2016
The gorilla’s size, at 450 pounds, was considered a threat to the child. Zookeepers said that a rifle shot was necessary because a tranquilizer would take time to go into effect, and would provoke the animal in the meantime.
“In an agitated situation, it may take quite a while for the tranquilizer to take effect,” said zoo director Thane Maynard. “At the instant he would be hit, he would have a dramatic response.”
The breach of the enclosure was an anomaly, Maynard said, and no other visitor had done so in the gorilla exhibit’s 38-year history.