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Here’s why the Cincinnati Zoo killed instead of tranquilized Harambe the gorilla


A male and female gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo. (Wikimedia Commons)

Cincinnati zookeepers shot and killed a 17-year-old gorilla named Harambe yesterday because a 4-year-old boy snuck into his enclosure. After the boy went under the fence, through wires, and even over the moat, Harambe picked him up and started carrying him around.

WATCH: Harambe the gorilla drags the unamed boy around.

The zoo's team were concerned because they couldn't predict what the gorilla would do next. Some onlookers at the zoo even thought the gorilla was acting affectionately or trying to protect the boy from all the people shouting.

Why did the Cincinnati Zoo shoot to kill and not tranquilize the gorilla?

Ultimately, they decided to shoot Harambe with bullets instead of a tranquilizer because a tranquilizer takes time to work. Plus, there's no telling how Harambe would've reacted if he was shot by a needle while holding the boy. The zookeepers had only moments to handle the situation, so killing Harambe was a guaranteed way to protect the boy immediately.

Several animal advocates, including celebrity zookeeper Jack Hanna, say they think the Cincinnati Zoo did the right thing.

The whole thing is tragic because Harambe was a western lowland gorilla (a critically endangered species). With a longer life, Harambe would have been able to father more western lowland gorillas. Luckily, the boy was taken to hospital with only minor, non-life threatening injuries.

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Here’s why the Cincinnati Zoo killed instead of tranquilized Harambe the gorilla

Sydney Moorhead

Sydney is a recent graduate of UC Santa Cruz with a degree in English-language literature. She served as a City on a Hill Press editor and an editorial intern at Good Times Weekly. She currently resides in Orange County, where she does her best not to spend all her money at the ridiculous number of malls. She loves watching Bravo reality shows and eating vegan food that isn’t too expensive (so, never).

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