Ohio zoo kills gorilla to protect 4-year-old who fell in exhibit
A special zoo response team shot and killed a 17-year-old gorilla Saturday that grabbed and dragged a 4-year-old boy who fell into the gorilla exhibit moat, the Cincinnati Zoo's director said.
Authorities said the boy, who fell 10 to 12 feet, is expected to recover after being picked up out of the moat and dragged by the gorilla for about 10 minutes. He was taken to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Zoo officials said he was alert when he was transported there.
Director Thane Maynard said the zoo's dangerous animal response team that practices for such incidents decided the boy was in "a life-threatening situation" and that they needed to put down the 400-pound-plus male gorilla named Harambe
"They made a tough choice and they made the right choice because they saved that little boy's life," Maynard said. "It could have been very bad
Maynard said he hadn't talked with the boy's parents yet. Authorities initially said the child was 3 years old, but the zoo said in a press release Saturday night that he was 4 years old
Gorilla grabs child who's fallen into habitat at Cincinnati Zoo 400 Pound Gorilla Grabs Child Whos Fallen into Habitat Local News
Gorilla grabs child who's fallen into habitat at Cincinnati Zoo. WATCH LIFE Gorilla grabs child who's fallen into habitat at Cincinnati Zoo 400 Pound Gorilla Grabs Child Whos Fallen into Habitat Local News
He 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
Maynard said it was the first time that the team had killed a zoo animal in such an emergency situation, and he called it "a very sad day" at the zoo. The lowland gorilla is an endangered species