Back in May, officials at the Cincinnati Zoo killed a gorilla named Harambe after a 3-year-old boy fell into his enclosure.
Fearing for the boy's life and believing that a tranquilizer dart would only agitate Harambe, authorities made the difficult decision to put the 17-year-old animal down.
They never could have predicted that they'd just created a social media icon.
In the months since Harambe's passing, memes about the late lowlands beast have popped up constantly on Twitter and Instagram.
They started predictably enough:
And got increasingly strange as time wore on:
Zoo officials asked the public to stop making posting images that reminded those involved in the Harambe incident of the tragedy.
But clearly those folks don't really understand how the Internet works, as that only added fuel to the fire.
At this point, there are even memes about how ridiculously long the Harambe joke has been running:
Yes. Like Babe Ruth, the legend of Harambe never die.
As we said, this stuff has gotten weirder and weirder as time goes by (though who doesn't love a good Sandlot reference?). Perhaps too weird for some.
In addition to the captioned images, there have been trending hashtags like the bizarrely popular (and yes, somewhat hilarious) #DicksOutForHarambe.
But the folks at the Cincinnati Zoo are not seeing the humor in the situation.
Yesterday, the organization released an official statement asking the gorilla-loving public to cool it with the memes:
“We are not amused by the memes, petitions and signs about Harambe,” the statement read from the zoo reads.
“Our zoo family is still healing, and the constant mention of Harambe makes moving forward more difficult for us.
"We are honoring Harambe by redoubling our gorilla conservation efforts and encouraging others to join us.”
Unfortunately that was followed by a comment from a blog post from a Cincinnati journalist that read in part:
"The goofuses of the Internet hopped on the Harambe train for their jollies, and it has gotten out of control.”
If you've spent much time on social media, we probably don't need to tell you what happened next.
The memes came fast and furious, and last night, the Cincinnati Zoo deleted its Twitter account.
So, there you have it. Does this mark another sad development in a tragic case, or has justice for Harambe finally been served?
Or is it neither, and the Cincinnati Zoo just needs to lighten up a bit and understand that this is simply what Twitter is?
We have no idea, but we're sure plenty of opinions, hashtags and photos are being offered up on the social network.