Zoo go­rilla shot dead

SundayXtra - - WORLD - By Dan Sewell

CINCIN­NATI — A spe­cial zoo re­sponse team shot and killed a 17-year- old go­rilla Satur­day that grabbed and dragged a three-yearold boy who fell into the go­rilla ex­hibit moat, the Cincin­nati Zoo’s direc­tor said.

Author­i­ties said the three-year- old boy, who fell three to four me­tres, 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.

Direc­tor Thane May­nard said the zoo’s dan­ger­ous an­i­mal-re­sponse team that prac­tises 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.

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 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.

The in­ci­dent was re­ported at around 4 p.m. The area around the go­rilla ex­hibit was closed off Satur­day af­ter­noon as zoo vis­i­tors re­ported hear­ing scream­ing.

Harambe came to Cincin­nati in 2015 from the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas.

Hospi­tal of­fi­cials said they couldn’t re­lease any in­for­ma­tion on the child. Author­i­ties hadn’t re­leased the child’s name.

May­nard said the zoo’s Go­rilla World area would be open as usual to­day. He said the zoo be­lieved the ex­hibit re­mains safe. They are still in­ves­ti­gat­ing, but zoo of­fi­cials be­lieve the boy crawled through a rail­ing bar­rier then fell into the moat.

The zoo prides it­self for its work in pro­tect­ing en­dan­gered species.

JULIO CORTEZ / THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Of­fi­cials re­move a plane from the Hud­son River Satur­day, a day af­ter it crashed in North Ber­gen, N.J.

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