New Photo Appears to Show Gorilla With 4-Year-Old Boy in Zoo
A new photo appears to show the gorilla that was shot on Saturday after a 4-year-old boy fell into its enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo.
The photo shows a zoo security official walking in front of the enclosure as Harambe, the 17-year-old gorilla, sit in the background. The picture was uploaded to Facebook and was shared by WCPO.
On Monday evening, the zoo defended its decision to use lethal force to protect the child.
“We stand by our decision, and we’d make the same call today,” Thane Maynard, director of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, said on Monday.
He added that people should not “engage in Monday-morning quarterbacking and do not understand primate biology,” Fox News reported.
His comments came after animal rights organizations—as well as numerous people on social media—expressed outrage over the shooting death of Harambe.
The 400-pound great ape was “clearly agitated and clearly disoriented,” he said, adding it was “acting erratically.” When that happened, the zoo’s dangerous-animal response team was called in.
Video footage of the incident shows the boy being dragged by the gorilla. Maynard said the gorilla was dragging the boy around by the head and was hitting the concreted.
“You can’t take a risk with a silverback gorilla,” he told NBC. “We’re talking about animal that with one hand can take a coconut and crush it.”
But Maynard described the Harambe’s death as “a big loss,” but he stressed the child’s safety was of paramount importance.
Witness Kim O’Connor told WLWT-TV that she heard the child tell her mother he wanted to get in the gorilla pit. “The mother’s like, ‘No, you’re not. No, you’re not,'” O’Connor said. O’Connor was the person who recorded the now-viral video of the gorilla and the boy.
“I don’t know if the screaming did it or too many people hanging on the edge, if he thought we were coming in, but then he pulled the boy down away further from the big group,” she added.
The family of the boy released a statement on Sunday evening, thanking the zoo staff for their “quick action,” Meanwhile, their child is home safe and is “doing just fine,” reported NBC News.