Ohio zoo closes gorilla exhibit for now after boy falls in

Harambe arrived at the Cincinnati Zoo in September 2014, according to the Zoo website. CREDIT: Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

CINCINNATI (WCMH)– A child is in the hospital with serious injuries after he got into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, and a gorilla is dead.

NBC affiliate WLWT reported the 4-year-old boy was taken to the hospital after somehow entering the caged gorilla area and getting into the moat.

Director Thayne Maynard said that the silverback gorilla picked the boy up and dragged him around violently for about 10 minutes.

An animal rights group says the Cincinnati Zoo should have had a second barrier around its gorilla exhibit where a boy fell into a moat.

A statement from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says captivity is never acceptable for gorillas and it turned deadly this time.

Visitors are leaving flowers at a gorilla statue inside the Cincinnati zoo one day after security officers killed a gorilla that had grabbed a boy who fell into the exhibit.

The zoo’s Dangerous Animal Response Team shot and killed the gorilla, 17-year-old Harambe, and recovered the boy safely. WLWT reports he is at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital with serious injuries.

WLWT reports the boy was between the gorilla’s legs when the shot was fired according to fire officials.

“It’s a sad day all around,” Maynard said to WLWT. “The right choice was made. It was a difficult choice.”

Maynard said a tranquilizer would not have taken effect immediately, and the gorilla may have become agitated and harm the boy further if Zoo staff had used that method. Earlier reports did indicate that staff tranquilized the primate.

Police were dispatched to the Zoo at around 4 p.m.

The Zoo had just celebrated Harambe’s birthday on Friday.

Gorilla World will be closed indefinitely following the incident but the zoo will open as usual on Sunday.




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