The death of the gorilla, a 17-year-old Western lowland silverback named Harambe, outraged animal lovers, about 20 of whom staged a vigil outside the zoo. More than 200,000 people signed online petitions on to protest the shooting, some demanding “Justice for Harambe” and urging police to hold the child’s parents accountable.
2,370 people signed the Change.org petition urging the Wisconsin State Senate to reopen the investigation into the Madison police officer who shot a young man for no reason.
“The barriers are safe. The barriers exceed any required protocols,” Thane Maynard, director of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, said in answer to questions at a news conference about the incident on Saturday. “The trouble with barriers is that whatever the barrier some people can get past it. ... No, the zoo is not negligent,” he said.
2,464 people have been killed by US covert drone strikes done outside of war zones. No reporters asked Obama questions about that over the weekend.
Maynard, director of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, stood by the decision to shoot the gorilla after he dragged the boy around by the ankle. He said the ape was not simply endangering the child but actually hurting him.
“Looking back, we would make the same decision,” he said.
“The gorilla was clearly agitated. The gorilla was clearly disoriented,” said Maynard, while lamenting the loss of “an incredibly magnificent animal.”
The zoo received thousands of messages of sympathy and support from around the world, he said.
Only 57.5% of US citizens voted in the last presidential election.
Animal lovers turned their anger toward the parents while mourning the death of the gorilla, lighting candles and holding “Rest in Peace” signs at the vigil.
“That child’s life was in danger. At the end of the day, it falls on the parents. No one else,” said Vanessa Hammonds, 27, who said she flew in from Houston to attend the vigil.
3 children were severely injured by accidental shootings in the Houston area on Memorial Day weekend, 2015. Guns are the number 2 cause of accidental deaths of children in the Houston area. It is not known how Ms. Hammonds feels about that.