Cincinnati Zoo gets new gorilla called Mshindi a year after it had to kill Harambe

The zoo shot Mshindi's predecessor after a child climbed into its enclosure

Andrew Griffin
Monday 18 September 2017 10:13
An image of Mshindi provided by the Cincinnati Zoo
An image of Mshindi provided by the Cincinnati Zoo

Cincinnati Zoo has got its first new gorilla since it had to kill Harambe last year.

The Ohio zoo has been the centre of criticism and controversy for more than a year, since it shot and killed Harambe. It said that it had to do so to protect the life of the child, but a range of people have disagreed.

Now it has its first replacement gorilla since that contentious day in May 2016.

The 29-year-old western lowland silverback gorilla came Louisville Zoo. The move is going well so far, the zoo said.

“Mshindi has settled in nicely,” said Ron Evans, Cincinnati Zoo’s curator of primates, in a statement. “We worked closely with Louisville Zoo’s gorilla staff to learn Mshindi’s trained behaviors for body presentations and health exams and to get familiar with his likes and dislikes. When working with highly intelligent animals like the great apes, it’s imperative for keepers from both zoos involved in a transfer to collaborate and exchange detailed information to ensure a smooth transition.”

Neither Mr Evans or the rest of Cincinnati Zoo's statement made any reference to Harambe. Instead, it focused on the zoo's work trying to conserve and save the species.

The outcry at the death of Harambe was so strong that the zoo was forced to plead with people to stop "constantly mentioning" Harambe and creating memes about the dead gorilla.

"We are not amused by the memes, petitions and signs about Harambe," Thane Maynard, Cincinnati Zoo director, said last year. "Our zoo family is still healing, and the constant mention of Harambe makes moving forward more difficult for us. We are honoring Harambe by redoubling our gorilla conservation efforts and encouraging others to join us."

Since then, its public and press channels have mostly been shut off. Repeated calls to the zoo over the last year have gone unanswered, and all of the zoo's social media posts are still responded to by a flood of people upset about the death of Harambe.

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