Twitteratti reacted to the killing of a 17-year-old gorilla named Harambe that grabbed and dragged a 4-year-old boy who fell into a moat. The reactions ranged from shock to debates on man-animal conflict.
The Cincinnati Zoo has temporarily closed its gorilla exhibit following the incident.
Zoo officials said the boy fell after he climbed through a public barrier at the Gorilla World exhibit on Sunday afternoon. He was picked up out of the moat and dragged by the gorilla for about 10 minutes. (Click here to read the story)
View the video of the incident below
Here's my question about the #CincinnatiZoo situation. Why was there an opening for a child to fit through in the first place?— Maurice Mitchell (@mauricem1972) May 30, 2016
You probably shouldn't keep animals in cages if you can't prevent humans from falling into them. #CincinnatiZoo— Grant Harvey (@grantharvey) May 29, 2016
I believe @CincinnatiZoo loves their beasts. It must've been a "Sophie's Choice" for them. Horrible. I wrap my arms round them & understand.— Nancy Lee Grahn (@NancyLeeGrahn) May 30, 2016
While many blasted the Cincinnati Zoo authorities for the gorilla's killing with a Twitter user even accused them of negligence for letting a child get inside the enclosure a user was sympathetic to them and even offered her support as stated in the last tweet above.
Protestors outside the zoo demanded justice for the slain gorilla.
Zoo Director Thane Maynard said the zoo's dangerous animal response team decided the boy was in "a life-threatening situation" and that they needed to put down the 400-pound-plus male gorilla Harambe.
But he mourned the loss of the gorilla, which came to Cincinnati in 2015 from the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas.
"We are all devastated that this tragic accident resulted in the death of a critically endangered gorilla," he said in a news release. "This is a huge loss for the zoo family and the gorilla population worldwide."
Witness Kim O'Connor shared video she and her family recorded with WLWT-TV of the boy and Harambe. The two appear in a corner of the exhibit while a voice yells "Somebody call the zoo!" and "Mommy's right here." Later, the two are shown in the moat. At one point, Harambe touches the boy's back and arms. A woman's voice is heard saying "Be calm, be calm."
The station reports more graphic parts of the video not shown include Harambe dragging the boy.
Two female gorillas also were in the enclosure when the boy fell in but zoo officials said only the male remained with the child.
Maynard said the gorilla didn't appear to be attacking the child, but he said it was "an extremely strong" animal in an agitated situation. He said tranquilizing the gorilla wouldn't have knocked it out immediately, leaving the boy in danger.
It was the first time that the team had killed a zoo animal in such an emergency situation, Maynard said. He called it "a very sad day" at the zoo.
- With inputs from Agencies
Last week, a 20-year-old man attempted to commit “suicide by lion” by jumping into a lion enclosure at the Santiago Zoo. The man reportedly stripped off all of his clothes before jumping in with the lions. He was then mauled by two of the lions, who were shot by zookeepers in a bid to save him (Read more)