Cincinnati Zoo under criticism for killing endangered gorilla

The organization’s team shot the 17-year-old ape after a young boy got through barriers and fell into the animal’s habitat. Many are criticizing the decision.

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A holiday weekend admiring animals at the zoo quickly turned into a PR crisis.

The Cincinnati Zoo is getting severe criticism for shooting one of its nine western lowland gorillas on Saturday after a 4-year-old boy fell into the animals’ habitat.

Videos of the incident abound online, with the following amassing more than 10 million views on YouTube:

Though the female gorillas in the habitat heeded keepers’ calls, its 17-year-old, 450-pound male gorilla, Harambe, would not leave the child. The zoo’s staff ushered visitors away from the enclosure before killing the animal.

The boy—who crawled over 3-foot-high steel bars, bushes and wire fencing before falling roughly 15 feet into a moat in the primates’ habitat—was released from the hospital on Saturday night.

Visitors and social media users were quick to call foul, taking to Twitter and flooding the zoo’s Facebook page with angry comments and criticism—as seen in the responses below:

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