Zoo Gorilla Gunned Down to Save Boy

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A gorilla can be 6ft tall and can weigh 500 pounds

In a zoo in the US city of Cincinnati the remarkable happened. A young (4-year-old) boy somehow got into an enclosure by climbing over the barrier into the home of a 400lb (180kg) male gorilla called Harambe.

Video footage that was taken by an amateur showed the animal dragging the boy through the water in the zoo moat. After moving the boy round too much for their liking, zoo officials decided to take the gorilla’s life and gave the order to shoot him.

A tranquilliser was a considered option but it was feared this might take too long to be effective.

Officials say the situation was ‘life-threatening’. In their opinion ‘it was a hard decision but they made the right choice’. They accept that the boy was not under attack but state he ‘certainly was at risk’.

A zoo spokesman said: ” We are all devastated that this tragic accident resulted in the death of a critically-endangered gorilla. This is a huge loss for the zoo family and the gorilla population world wide.”

There were two other female gorillas in the enclosure; luckily they didn’t approach the child so they were unharmed.

The 4-year-old was taken to a nearby hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

Gorilla Facts

  • A gorilla can be 6ft tall and can weigh 500 pounds.
  • They can live for up to 50 years.
  • Gorillas are the largest living primates.
  • They live in groups of 6-12, called bands or troops.
  • They mostly consist of one silverback, a couple of females and their young.



Alice, Year 6

Heighington Millfield Primary Academy

5 Responses to Zoo Gorilla Gunned Down to Save Boy

  1. admin June 1, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    A good account of a tragic situation, Alice.
    I read somewhere that around 650 Silverback Gorillas exist. Now there is one less.

    YJA Senior Editor

  2. Darcey June 3, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    Great article Alice, very informative! As you said the tranquiliser would of taken too much time to take affect and even so the gorilla could of fallen on the boy and injured him.

  3. Lola June 6, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    A great article Alice, this story has been alerting many people around the world and has certainly got people talking. I know my family are having big discussions about it. I can understand why the gorilla had to be shot, which is very sad, but it also raises great concerns on how the little boy managed to fall into the gorilla enclosure.

  4. Georgia June 7, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    This article was brilliant! Well done, I feel sorry for that little boy, and the gorilla as well.

  5. Louie Hall June 7, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    So cool I like gorillas, but it’s what happened to it. ;(