Published: Fri, June 17, 2016
Culture | By Ray Hoffman

Death of gorilla is Cincinnati Zoo's fault

Death of gorilla is Cincinnati Zoo's fault

Madison Zortman, center, has her picture taken by her mother Rebekah Ridgeway, bottom left, at the Gorilla World exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Tuesday, June 7, 2016, in Cincinnati.

Regarding the shooting of the endangered gorilla at Cincinnati Zoo, the blame lies with the zoo.

The exhibit has been closed since May 28, when a 3-year-old boy got into the enclosure.

That prompted the zoo's risky animal response team to fatally shoot 17-year-old Harambe, figuring that the boy's life was in danger.

Zoo officials shot and killed a 450-pound gorilla named Harambe 10 days ago after a 3-year-old boy breached the previous barrier, scrambled through thick bushes and dropped into the moat surrounding the enclosure.

The boy apparently climbed over the outer barrier May 28 before falling about 15 feet into a shallow moat. An animal protection group is pushing for the examination.

When the toddler's mother became distracted with her other children, the little boy went into the moat.

"This is one more step in allowing us to put this tragic episode behind us and return to our normal family", the statement said.

He says the child's mother had three other children with her, and she was attending to them when the 3-year-old "just scampered off".

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters said on Monday that there is no evidence the child's mother acted inappropriately in the situation.

The gorilla's death set off a torrent of criticism online.

A number of zoos, including in Melbourne, Australia, have lined their viewing areas with tall glass so that the animals can be watched by visitors with little threat of anyone accessing the enclosure. Doing so may result in civil and/or criminal penalties. It will reopen Tuesday with a higher barrier and added knotted rope netting. "It does not equate human life, and they felt that this boy's life was in jeopardy, and they made the painful choice to do what they did".

The barrier "redoubles our effort to make sure that our animals are safe and that our visitors are as well", Mr Maynard said.

Parents should look after their children and make sure they do not get into mischief, so as to avoid such incidents.

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