CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Zoo’s director stands by the decision to kill a gorilla after a boy entered its enclosure.
Thane Maynard told reporters on Monday that the 4-year-old boy’s life was in danger. He says Harambe, a 17-year-old western lowland gorilla, was agitated and disoriented and acting erratically.
Maynard says the 420-pound gorilla was extremely strong and could crush a coconut in its hand.
“They made a tough quick decision that saved one boys life. We stand by our decision that it was the right thing to do at the time. People can Monday-morning quarterback about the situation, but I am proud of the fast response and decisiveness of the team. It was a tough decision and we did not take it lightly to shoot our animal and it was a little boys life. There is no messing around with a 450-pound gorilla.”
A witness reports hearing the boy tell his mother he wanted to get in the water Saturday afternoon. She said no, but the boy entered a moat in the gorilla exhibit anyway.
Maynard says the zoo is reviewing security measures to ensure both visitors and animals are safe.
The zoo hopes to reopen its Gorilla World within several days.
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