A Male Gorilla Was Killed in Order to Protect a Child That Fell Into His Enclosure

A Male Gorilla Was Killed in Order to Protect a Child That Fell Into His Enclosure
Source: AP
Source: AP

A male gorilla was shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo on Saturday by staff members who were attempting to save a 4-year-old boy who had fallen into his enclosure.

Harambe, a 400-pound Western lowland silverback gorilla, can be seen in videos of the incident gently nudging the toddler, at one point scooping him up by the seat of his pants so that the boy is standing in the watery pool he had slipped into while observing the exhibit.

Other, more graphic recordings show the gorilla dragging the young boy through the moat before towering over him on all fours.

A woman can be heard in the video yelling, "I'm right here, mommy loves you."

Cincinnati Zoo Director Thayne Maynard told NBC News that while the security team's rapid response "saved the child's life," the team was mourning the loss of the critically endangered gorilla.

"This is a huge loss for the Zoo family and the gorilla population worldwide," he said.

Twitter users' reactions oscillated between anger and sadness over the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the gorilla's death.

Kim O'Connor, who witnessed the events on Saturday firsthand, told NBC News that the boy's mother had been watching several other children when her son fell into the exhibit.

"The little boy himself had already been talking about wanting to ... get in the water. The mother's like, 'No, you're not, no, you're not,'" she said.

Harambe had celebrated his 17th birthday on Friday, one day before he was killed.

Read more: The Surprising Way Scientists Want to Save Shelter Pets

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Brianna Provenzano

Brianna is a staff writer at Mic, covering breaking news. Send tips/inquiries to brianna@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Senate bill would make it a federal crime to boycott Israeli settlements

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720) would make it a felony to support international efforts to boycott Israeli occupation.

3 takeaways from Jon Huntsman’s nomination as ambassador to Russia

Huntsman may be a steady hand on the wheel — but with little direction and Russia expertise, Trump's nominee has a challenging road ahead.

Hundreds expect to be arrested during D.C. health care protests

One organizer said "600 people or so" had signed up to be arrested.

The truth about what cycling in the Tour de France does to your body

Is that normal? Let some experts explain.

Who is Jon Huntsman? Here’s what to know about Trump’s pick for ambassador to Russia.

The former Utah governor comes to the position with ambassadorial experience — and a fraught history with Trump.

Senate bill would make it a federal crime to boycott Israeli settlements

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720) would make it a felony to support international efforts to boycott Israeli occupation.

3 takeaways from Jon Huntsman’s nomination as ambassador to Russia

Huntsman may be a steady hand on the wheel — but with little direction and Russia expertise, Trump's nominee has a challenging road ahead.

Hundreds expect to be arrested during D.C. health care protests

One organizer said "600 people or so" had signed up to be arrested.

The truth about what cycling in the Tour de France does to your body

Is that normal? Let some experts explain.

Who is Jon Huntsman? Here’s what to know about Trump’s pick for ambassador to Russia.

The former Utah governor comes to the position with ambassadorial experience — and a fraught history with Trump.