A 400lbs gorilla was shot dead after a four-year-old boy fell into his enclosure at Cincinnati Zoo earlier today.
Zoo workers shot Harambe dead out of fear that it would hurt the boy – but latest footage from the incident suggests he was not in danger.
Astonishing new footage appears to show that Harambe was protecting the boy who fell into his cage. Moments later, the 17-year-old gorilla was fatally shot by zoo staff in a bid to protect the boy after falling 12 feet into the enclosure.
We’ve included the video over the page, please be warned that some people may find this footage distressing.
The incident, which was captured on a mobile phone, has sparked an outcry of emotion, with thousands of mourners branding it a ‘senseless death’.
A mother who was at the zoo said she tried to stop the child, who authorities believe crawled past the railing and fell 10 feet into the gorilla’s habitat, where he spent more than 10 minutes.
‘I tried to prevent it, I tried to grab him and I just couldn’t get to him fast enough,’ Brittany Nicely toldWHIO.
What’s dividing opinion, though, is the vastly different accounts of the tragic event that have been released. According to the fire department report, the gorilla was ‘violently dragging and throwing the child’, WLWT reported.
That simply wasn’t the case according to Nicely, she claimed: ‘What the first responders saw, I’m just not sure…They said he was violently throwing the child around, which seems crazy to me.
Later in the day, the boy’s mother took to Facebook to share her thoughts on what must have been a horrifying event. Here’s what she said:
Outraged animal lovers took to social media declaring the gorilla’s life was unnecessarily taken, and more than 4,000 have already joined the Facebook group Justice for Harambe.
And fury at Cincinnati Zoo continues to mount as animal lovers demand an explanation as to why the 17-year-old gorilla named Herambe was not tranquilised.
The child was taken to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Centre and is said to have sustained no serious injuries.