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RIP Harambe: Fury at 'neglectful' parents of boy who ASKED to play in gorilla's pen before crawling in - forcing zoo to shoot silverback dead while it 'protected' the child
A 400-pound gorilla named Harambe who was shot dead by Cincinnati Zoo officials just one day after his 17th birthday has sparked an outcry of emotion as mourners called it a 'senseless death'.
Many are placing the blame squarely on the parents of a four-year-old boy, who investigators believe crawled through a railing barrier and fell into the gorilla exhibit's moat before he was dragged by Harambe in the water for about 10 minutes.
The small child said he wanted to get in the water before the incident, to which the mother, who was also watching several other children, replied: 'No, you're not, no, you're not,' according to one witness Kim O'Connor.
The zoo's animal response team assessed the 'life-threatening situation' and defended their decision to shoot Harambe rather than tranquilize him, but thousands took to social media to call it a 'murder'.
ccording to O'Connor, the gorilla looked like he was trying to protect the boy from panicked bystanders who may have aggravated the tense situation.
She said: 'I don't know if the screaming did it or too many people hanging on the edge, if he thought we were coming in, but then he pulled the boy down away further from the big group.'
In the video that emerged on Saturday, a woman can be heard yelling, 'Mommy's right here...mommy loves you,' and before saying 'Isaiah be calm,' when the boy started crying.
oo officials said three gorillas were in the enclosure when the boy fell in the moat, but the two female gorillas were called out immediately.
Harambe remained in the yard with the child.
Some said Harambe appeared to be guarding and defending the boy, but video footage also showed him dragging the four-year-old in the water.
According to Maynard, the gorilla did not appear to be attacking the child, but he called it 'an extremely strong' animal in an agitated situation.
'You're talking about an animal that's over 400 pounds and extremely strong. So no, the child wasn't under attack but all sorts of things could happen in a situation like that. He certainly was at risk,' he told WLWT.
According to a fire department incident report, the gorilla was 'violently dragging and throwing the child', who was between Harambe's legs when the gorilla was shot, WLWT reported.
Maynard explained that tranquilizing the gorilla would not have knocked it out immediately, leaving the boy in danger.