Dramatic Rescue of Boy from Gorilla Habitat, Sad End for Silver Back

Saturday the Cincinnati Zoo was the site of a dramatic and tragic series of events. A rambunctious 4-year-old boy broke away from his distracted mother and fell into a gorilla habitat, housing Harambe, a 400 pound silver back lowland gorilla.

Though the powerful animal was gentle and apparently protective of the child for stretches of time, emergency personnel observed the gorilla dragging the child around and throwing him at times. A decision was made to put Harambe down with a rifle, since the animal posed a risk to the child in an agitated state. The use of a tranquilizer gun was rejected, since the drug wouldn’t take effect right away, but might greatly increase the risk to the child for several minutes.

After Harambe was killed the child was successfully rescued and he’s recovering from non life-threatening injuries. Animal rights activists and fans of Harambe the world over have vocally criticized the the decision to kill the magnificent animal, and much scorn has been levied against the mother of the child, who was evidently overwhelmed by her other children and therefore distracted when her son made his fateful move.

Harambe was 17 years old, and was moved to the Cincinnati zoo to live with two females, in the hopes that he would eventually breed. His death is considered a serious blow to the conservation of the lowland gorilla species.

This was a sad and unnecessary event. If the child’s mother had been more attentive, or had some help from her family and friends, this could have been avoided. If the gorilla habitat had been better secured, this could have been avoided (the boy ducked under a metal fence before making his way to the edge of the habitat, and then simply fell in.) Though terrible, it’s fortunate that such emergencies are rare.

Learn more about the rescue of the boy, and the tragic death of Harambe the gorilla (Chicago Tribune)

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