Local zoo reacts to killing of endangered gorilla to save boy - WNEM TV 5

Local zoo reacts to killing of endangered gorilla to save boy

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

A terrifying moment was caught on camera when a 3-year-old boy fell into a zoo enclosure. The video shows a 400-pound gorilla dragging the boy, until zoo officials decided to kill the rare animal.

The unfortunate situation has sparked a debate nationwide over whether Horambe’s death was the only option.

“When he scaled him up, his head's banging against the wall as he's climbing straight up and so, that's the part people didn't see,” Kimberly O’Connor, a witness said.

In his mother's distracted moment, the boy was able to get through a railing and fall 15 feet into a moat in the gorilla's enclosure.

O’Connor said the little boy told his mother he was ‘gonna go in.’ When she turned around to her other children, the little boy fell.

Horambe the endangered Lowland Gorilla's 17-year-old life was ended by zookeepers to stop the boy from being attacked.

At the Saginaw Children’s Zoo, the staff of animal lovers share the pain of the loss but revel in the assurance that nothing even remotely similar could happen here.

“We understand that, that must have taken a lot for them and that they must have done what they thought was right,” Sarah Harrison, leader zookeeper said.

Harrison helps keep watch over an environment that has never seen a zoo patron in peril.

“We have double fencing, we have double door systems for the keepers as well as guests,” she said.

A gorilla like Horambe is considered a class one dangerous animal and the Saginaw Children’s Zoo don’t have any animals in that category.

Activists are now banning together in support of Harambe by creating a petition to pass ‘Harambe’s Law.’

The law would give legal consequences when an endangered animal is harmed or killed due to the negligence of visitors.

Read more about the petition here: http://www.wnem.com/story/32092919/community-activists-mourn-death-of-17-year-old-gorilla

Copyright 2016 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

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