Vigil held for gorilla killed at Cincinnati Zoo

A sympathy card rests at the feet of a gorilla statue outside the Gorilla World exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Sunday, May 29, 2016, in Cincinnati.
Image: John Minchillo/Associated Press

Animals rights activists held a vigil on Memorial Day for Harambe, the 17-year-old lowland gorilla killed at the Cincinnati Zoo after a child slipped into his exhibit.

A special zoo response team killed the animal after concluding the 4-year-old boy’s life was in danger.

Anthony Seta, a prominent animal rights activist, called the gorilla’s death “a senseless tragedy,” and said the Monday afternoon gathering is meant as a memorial to Harambe.

Seta says Monday’s memorial is meant as a tribute, not to point fingers at the zoo or the boy’s parents.

There has been a strong outpouring on social media of people upset the gorilla was killed Saturday. A Facebook page called “Justice for Harambe” created Saturday night has drawn wide attention.

Seta says Monday’s memorial is meant as a tribute, not to point fingers at the zoo or the boy’s parents.

The zoo has defended the decision to kill the gorilla instead of using tranquilizer darts.

“Tranquilizers do not take effect for several minutes, and the child was in imminent danger. On top of that, the impact from the dart could agitate the animal and cause the situation to get much worse,” said Thane Maynard, director of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, in a statement. “We are heartbroken about losing Harambe, but a child’s life was in danger and a quick decision had to be made.”

On Monday, Maynard said the zoo had received messages of support and condolences from around the world. He said visitors left flowers at the gorilla exhibit and asked how they could support gorilla conservation.

“This is very emotional and people have expressed different feelings,” Maynard said by email. “Not everyone shares the same opinion and that’s OK. But we all share the love for animals.”

The boy hasn’t been identified and his family says he is doing fine at home.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Read more:

This site makes use of cookies which may contain tracking information about visitors. By continuing to browse this site you agree to our use of cookies.