Old Footage Shows Gorillas Rescuing Children Who Fell Into Their Pits

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Kaplan urged a thorough investigation of the incident, to see why Harambe had to die. (The Cincinnati police announced Tuesday that they will be investigating the incident.) “Since the tragedy has happened, the zoo should be pressured into reviewing and publicly explaining its safety standards for people and children, and enclosures,” Kaplan said. “[The zoo] should be asked to explain and show what its protocols are in dealing with animals in emergency situations such as this was, and be questioned on its ethical standards.”

Kaplan pointed out that gorillas can get through crisis situations unharmed. “Many other positive inducements [methods] can be used,” she said. “Then there are negative inducements such as restraints (nets), tasers, pepper sprays — another zoo had successfully used fire hoses to contain their animal.”

But the zoo stands by its decision. “We are heartbroken about losing Harambe, but a child’s life was in danger and a quick decision had to be made by our Dangerous Animal Response Team,” Zoo Director Thane Maynard said in a statement. “Our first response was to call the gorillas out of the exhibit. The two females complied, but Harambe did not. It is important to note that with the child still in the exhibit, tranquilizing the 450-pound gorilla was not an option. 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.”

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