Harambe: Man in gorilla costume drags children around Cincinnati football pitch in tribute to killed primate

Gorilla becomes controversial mascot for school's football team

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The Independent US

A Cincinnati school has made a gorilla the new mascot for its football team in an apparent tribute to killed primate Harambe.

Cincinnati Zoo’s male silverback gorilla was shot dead in May after a three-year-old child fell into his enclosure, prompting widespread grief and anger.

And video and pictures from a local school football game have emerged, showing a person dressed in a gorilla outift chasing after somebody in a banana costume who is carrying a sign that reads: “RIP Harambe”.

In still images, the gorilla is seen dragging a child by the arm around the football pitch in a manner reminiscent of the way in which the real Harambe was seen doing to the three-year-old boy who fell into his enclosure. 

In other scenes, the gorilla elicits a rapturous response from the crowd during a bout of frenetic dancing. 

While Harambe’s life was cut short in tragic circumstances, his memory has been kept alive through a series of tributes across the world.

It comes after Cincinnati Zoo announced it was closing its social media accounts because it was being inundated with memes relating to the primate's death.

The zoo had previously asked people to stop making jokes and memes involving Harambe, although the move appeared to prompt a fresh wave of tributes from those grieving the killed animal.

In addition to lambasting the zoo for the death of the gorilla, campaigners also want to make the deceased primate the president of America.

Polling this month revealed two per cent of Texan voters supported the animal – the same level of support as for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

On Sunday Ms Stein directly addressed the issue, tweeting: “The killing of Harambe 3 months ago today reminds us to be a voice for the voiceless.”

She said the gorilla’s death highlighted “the need to adopt stronger legal protections for the rights of animals” in the US.