An employee at the Cincinnati Zoo shot and killed an endangered lowland gorilla on Saturday after a four-year-old boy slipped and fell into the animal’s enclosure.
A zoo official confirmed the incident during a press conference… and the Internet is now abuzz over who is to blame for this tragedy.
The following piece of surveillance footage depicts Harambe – a 17-year-old, 400-pound gorilla – grabbing the child and pulling him around its habitat.
This lasted for approximately 10 minutes, while the boy’s mother and many other zoo guests looked on in helpless horror.
Considering this a life-threatening situation, the zoo’s dangerous animal response team acted by fatally taking down the gorilla, according to Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard.
After the animal was shot with a rifle, the toddler was taken to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
He had non-life-threatening injuries and is expected to be just fine.
"The child was not under attack but all sorts of things could happen," Maynard said. "He certainly was at risk."
After the boy went under the railing, through a set of wires and over a moat wall, two female gorilla were called away from the scene.
However, the male gorilla went to the moat, picked up the kid and started to drag him through the water and all around.
Why were real bullets used over a tranquilizer?
Because the latter would take too long to take effect, Maynard explained.
Because the western lowland gorilla is a critically endangered species, zoo employees are in mourning today… even if understand why the shooting had to take place.
Others, however, wonder why this precaution had to be taken if the gorilla had done the child any harm after 10 minutes.
Watch the frightening video below and choose a side: did the employees do what needed to be done in order to save a child’s life?
Or should they have refrained from the fatal act because they understood Harambe would never have hurt the boy?