Harambe: Cincinnati Zoo barrier not up to standard on day gorilla shot dead, federal investigators find

Report says zoo's dangerous-animal response team followed procedures in killing the primate

Click to follow
The Independent US

The enclosure separating Harambe from the public was not in compliance with safety standards on the day a three-year-old boy slipped into his exhibit - before zoo keepers shot the gorilla dead - federal investigators have revealed.

A newly emerged report states Cincinatti Zoo's barrier between the public and gorillas did not meet with rules for housing primates.

Investigators also ruled that the zoo's dangerous-animal response team properly followed procedures after visitors to the attraction called 911 to report the child had fallen into the popular animal's enclosure.

Cincinnati Zoo's gorilla Harambe plays as a baby

A member of the response team had maintained the child was in "life-threatening danger" and that Harambe was killed to save the boy's life. 

Two female gorillas were also in the enclosure when the boy fell in but zoo officials said only the 400lb male gorilla remained with the child. 

Since the inspection, the zoo made the barrier taller and used nylon mesh to close any gaps.

It said there had been no earlier issues with the barriers, which were found to be compliant in earlier federal inspections.

After the gorilla's death, hundreds of thousands of people signed a petition calling for "Justice for Harambe".

The petition called for the boy's parents to be held accountable for "not supervising their child".

In a Facebook post, the boy's mother asked others not to judge her because "accidents happen".

Defending herself against her critics, Michelle Gregg wrote: “As a society we are quick to judge how a parent could take their eyes off of their child and if anyone knows me I keep a tight watch on my kids.

“Accidents happen but I am thankful that the right people were in the right place today.”

In August, Cincinnati Zoo issued a plea to those mourning Harame to stop paying tribute to the late gorilla by creating online memes and bombarding their official social media accounts with abuse.

Comments