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Cincinnati Zoo Director Defends Killing Harambe the Gorilla: ‘We’d Make the Same Decision’

It was the right thing to do. The director of the Cincinnati Zoo, Thane Maynard, has defended the decision to shoot and kill Harambe the gorilla on Saturday, May 28, after a 4-year-old boy slipped into his enclosure.

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Maynard stood by his decision to kill the 17-year-old silverback gorilla in order to save the child’s life, and says he’d make the same decision again if the situation arose.

“That child’s life was in danger,” he said, during a news conference on Monday, May 30. “People who question that don’t understand you can’t take a risk with a silverback gorilla — this is a dangerous animal.”

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Looking back, we’d make the same decision,” he continued. “The child is safe.”

“We had a very difficult situation and we made a difficult call at the end,” he went on. “I’m not here to point fingers about fault. We live in the real world, we make real decisions. People and kids can climb over barriers. We work hard to make sure this zoo is safe. People can climb over barriers, that’s what happened.”

Harumbe the gorilla

In the wake of the incident, many people criticized the child’s mother for allowing her son to have the freedom to climb over the barriers and into the enclosure.

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But as Us Weekly reported yesterday, the boy’s mother defended herself and her actions, denying she was to blame for the untimely death of one of the zoo’s favorite creatures, one of an endangered species.

In a now-deleted Facebook post, the mom, Michelle Gregg, slammed those critics who questioned her parenting.

“As a society we are quick to judge how a parent could take their eyes off of their child and if anyone knows me I keep a tight watch on my kids,” she wrote. “Accidents happen but I am thankful that the right people were in the right place today. Thank you to everyone that helped me and my son today and most importantly God for being the awsome [sic] God that He is.”

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