Cincinnati: Amidst the furore and frenzy over social media and the cyber space as a whole over Harambe the gorilla's killing in Cincinnati Zoo, the zoo's director, Thane Maynard, came out to defend the actions of his staff.
For those who are unaware, A 17-year-old gorilla, a rare western lowland silverback, was shot and killed after a 4-year-old boy slipped between the rails down to the gorilla enclosure at Cincinnati Zoo. To protect the child, the zoo staff took the decision to kill the giant ape.
The parents of the child have been at the receiving end of all the hate that has been spewing over social media networks for neglecting their kid and being unable to take care of him, because of which, an innocent animal had to lose its life.
The anger of grieving people rose when certain reports claimed that Harambe was in fact, trying to protect the boy and not harm him as the zoo staff thought.
The boy was with Harambe for 10 minutes before the zoo authorities deemed the situation life-threatening. Maynard is now backing the zoo's decision of killing the gorilla.
He claims that, Harambe was a fully grown gorills who had the potential to crush a whole coconut with one hand, so there was no doubt that the boy was in danger.
When asked why they didn't resort to tranquilizers, Maynard said that the 420-pound gorilla would have become more agitated and the shots wouldn't have had an immediate effect on him, considering which, the threat that the boy faced, could have elevated.
According to a report by the Associated Press (AP), Maynard said an investigation indicates the boy climbed over a 3-foot-tall railing, then walked through an area of bushes about 4 feet deep before plunging some 15 feet into the moat. The boy was treated at a hospital and released that same day.
The director said the zoo remains safe for its some 1.6 million annual visitors, but a review is underway for possible improvements.
AP further reported that, in the days since, people have taken to social media to voice their outrage about the killing of a member of an endangered species. A Facebook page called “Justice for Harambe” was created along with online petitions and another page calling for a June 5 protest at the zoo.
Maynard said the zoo had received messages of support and condolences from around the world, including from other zoo directors and gorilla experts.
Gorilla World, the gorilla enclosure where the unfortunate incident took place, has remained closed ever since that day, however, Maynard says it might reopen by next weekend.