Workers at the Cincinnati Zoo shot and killed Harambe, a 17-year-old western lowland silverback gorilla, on Saturday, May 28, after a harrowing 10 minute encounter between the animal and a four-year-old who had fallen into the moat around the zoo's gorilla habitat. These videos of the gorilla and child in the Cincinnati Zoo enclosure are disturbing, without a doubt. But they also provide valuable insight into just what happened during the encounter.
Different angles show different perspectives on the encounter, and there doesn't appear to be an unedited full version of the video on the internet — nor is there likely to be, given that this was an unintentional, unfortunate incident. However there are a few things that each of these videos share.
First, in each clip, one of the most noticeable features is the fact that the onlookers are audibly shaken. The crowd features several screaming individuals (some which sound like children) and several others shouting loudly, including the mother of the child who can be heard repeating "Mommy loves you" in several of the clips. Harambe's movements vary between gently prodding the boy, standing in front or over the child in a corner of the installation, and dragging the child through the shallow moat.
Here, the gorilla is shown violently dragging the boy through the water, and later standing with the child at a point about 10 yards away from the corner.
This clip partially shows the gorilla pulling the child through the moat, after prodding at his clothing. The gorilla makes sudden movements and goes from gently touching the child to swiftly carrying it away.
Harambe had spent just over a year in the Cincinnati Zoo. The zoo published a video detailing his arrival and first day in the exhibit.
Without a full videographic reconstruction of events from each angle, only the trained crisis management professionals actually at the scene would be able to accurately assess the situation at hand. However, it seems clear that this incredibly volatile situation may have been exacerbated by the chaos and confusion coming from the onlookers up in the crowd.
These unfortunate incidents are liable to continue for as long as humans continue to keep animals in unnatural habitat. But until we know for certain what may have cause the gorilla to react in this way, these disturbing videos give a glimpse into the horrific experience this four-year-old and his mother experienced at the Cincinnati Zoo.
Images: WLWT News (1)