The Latest: Jack Hanna backs decision to kill gorilla at zoo

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Latest on the killing of a gorilla after a child fell into its enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo (all times local):

6:05 p.m.

Jack Hanna says the Cincinnati Zoo made the right call by killing a gorilla that grabbed a 4-year-old boy who had entered its enclosure.

The host of “Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild” tells WBNS-TV ( ) that he saw video of the gorilla jerking the boy through a shallow moat in the exhibit Saturday.

Hanna says he knew what would happen if the gorilla wasn’t killed. He says, “I’ll bet my life on this, that child would not be here today.”

Hanna says killing the gorilla was the only way to protect the child. He says that it would take up to 10 minutes for a tranquilizer to set in and that the gorilla would be agitated after getting shot.

Hanna is also the director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.


4:10 p.m.

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 the 420-pound gorilla was agitated and disoriented and acting erratically.

Maynard says the western lowland gorilla was extreme strong and could crush a coconut in its hand.

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.


2:35 p.m.

The director of the Cincinnati Zoo says staffers are receiving messages of support and condolences from around the world after a gorilla there was fatally shot to protect a 4-year-old boy who had fallen into its enclosure.

Thane Maynard tells The Associated Press by email that zoo visitors Monday dropped flowers at the gorilla exhibit and asked him how they could support gorilla conservation.

He acknowledges there are also critics of the zoo’s decision Saturday to kill Harambe, a 17-year-old western lowlands gorilla. He says the 400-pound-plus gorilla wasn’t attacking the child but was in an “agitated situation” and was “extremely strong.”

Maynard acknowledges the situation is “very emotional.” He says, “Not everyone shares the same opinion and that’s OK. But we all share the love for animals.”


2:15 p.m.

The Texas zoo and birthplace of a western lowland gorilla that was shot after a boy fell into its exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo says it’s deeply saddened by the animal’s death.

The 17-year-old gorilla named Harambe was born at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, and officials there say he was hand-raised. He was sent to the Cincinnati Zoo less than two years ago in hopes he would eventually breed offspring for the endangered species.

Zoo officials shot Harambe on Saturday afternoon after a 4-year-old boy fell into the gorilla’s exhibit. Cincinnati Zoo officials say they feared for the boy’s life.

The Gladys Porter Zoo says the death has affected gorilla conservationists across the globe.

Harambe’s longtime caregiver planned to talk Monday evening about the gorilla.


1:05 p.m.

Officials at zoos in Ohio and Texas are holding news conferences to talk about the death of a western lowland gorilla that was shot after a boy felt into its exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo.

The 17-year-old gorilla named Harambe was born at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, and arrived in Cincinnati less than two years ago. Zoo authorities had hoped he would eventually breed with females to preserve the endangered species.

Officials at the Brownsville zoo are holding a news conference Monday night.

The Cincinnati Zoo’s director also plans a Monday afternoon news briefing on Harambe’s death.

A special response team shot and killed the gorilla Saturday after concluding that the life of a 4-year-old boy who had fallen into an exhibit moat was in danger.


12:40 p.m.

Animal rights activists have gathered at the Cincinnati Zoo for a vigil in remembrance of a gorilla who was fatally shot to protect a 4-year-old boy who had fallen into its exhibit.

Dozens of people were outside the zoo Monday afternoon. They held signs with messages such as “Rest in Peace Harambe.”

A 4-year-old boy slipped through a barricade at the gorilla exhibit on Saturday and fell into a small moat. A zoo special response team feared the boy’s life was in danger, so they shot and killed the gorilla, named Harambe.

Vigil organizer Anthony Seta (SAY’-tuh) of Cincinnati calls the 17-year-old western lowland gorilla’s death “a senseless tragedy.” But he says the purpose of the vigil isn’t to point fingers but to pay tribute to Harambe.


10:30 a.m.

Animal rights activists plan a Memorial Day vigil for the gorilla killed at the Cincinnati Zoo after a 4-year-old boy slipped into an exhibit and a special zoo response team concluded his life was in danger.

Anthony Seta (SAY’-tuh) calls the 17-year-old endangered lowland gorilla’s death “a senseless tragedy” and says the Monday afternoon gathering is meant as a memorial to Harambe (huh-RAHM’-bay).

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

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