The Gorilla Incident

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Reason shares an eyewitness’s firsthand account of the gorilla incident (lifted from Facebook):

My family and I decided to go to the zoo yesterday after visiting my niece at Cincinnati Children’s hospital. For those of you that have already heard, there was a terrible accident there yesterday. And since every news media has covered this story, I don’t feel bad telling our side. This was an accident! A terrible accident, but just that!

My husband’s voice is the voice talking to the child in one of the videos. I was taking a pic of the female gorilla, when my eldest son yells, “what is he doing? ” I looked down, and to my surprise, there was a small child that had apparently, literally “flopped” over the railing, where there was then about 3 feet of ground that the child quickly crawled through!

I assumed the woman next to me was the mother, getting ready to grab him until she says, “Whose kid is this? ” None of us actually thought he’d go over the nearly 15 foot drop, but he was crawling so fast through the bushes before myself or husband could grab him, he went over!

The crowed got a little frantic and the mother was calling for her son. Actually, just prior to him going over, but she couldn’t see him crawling through the bushes! She said “He was right here! I took a pic and his hand was in my back pocket and then gone!” As she could find him nowhere, she lookes to my husband (already over the railing talking to the child) and asks, “Sir, is he wearing green shorts? ” My husband reluctantly had to tell her yes, when she then nearly had a break down!

They are both wanting to go over into the 15 foot drop, when I forbade my husband to do so, and attempted to calm the mother by calling 911 and assure her help was on the way. Neither my husband or the mother would have made that jump without breaking something! I wasn’t leaving with my boys, because I didn’t trust my husband not to jump in and the gorilla did just seem to be protective of the child.

It wasn’t until the gorilla became agitated because of the nosey, dramatic, helpless crowd; that the gorilla violently ran with the child! And it was very violent; although I think the gorilla was still trying to protect, we’re taking a 400 lb gorilla throwing a 40 lb toddler around! It was horrific!

The zoo responded very quickly, clearing the area and attempting to save both the child and the gorilla! The right choice was made. Thank God the child survived with non-life threatening, but serious injuries!

This was an open exhibit! Which means the only thing separating you from the gorillas, is a 15 ish foot drop and a moat and some bushes! This mother was not negligent and the zoo did an awesome job handling the situation! Especially since that had never happened before! Thankful for the zoo and their attempts and my thoughts and prayers goes out to this boy, his mother and his family.


  1. Sump Danger says:

    A bizarre narrative! The exclamation points, the errors of syntax and spelling — it’s perfectly conceived.

  2. Slovenian Guest says:

    The next day Jimmy Kimmel promptly cried for Harambe the gorilla on his TV show and demanded justice, black animal lives matter! First Cecil the friendly apex predator lion and now this, what’s the world coming to? The YouTube video of this incident can be seen here btw, but it’s funny how people seem to care more for the gorilla, and have to be set straight by commenters like Fox The Nerd, who said:

    “I have worked with Gorillas as a zookeeper while in my twenties and they are my favorite animal that I have ever worked closely with. I am gonna go ahead and list a few facts, thoughts and opinions for those of you that aren’t familiar with the species itself, or how a zoo operates in emergency situations. Now Gorillas are considered ‘gentle giants’ at least when compared with their more aggressive cousins the chimpanzee, but a 400+ pound male in his prime is as strong as roughly 10 adult humans. What can you bench press? OK, now multiply that number by ten. An adult male silverback gorilla has one job, to protect his group. He does this by bluffing or intimidating anything that he feels threatened by. Gorillas are considered a Class 1 mammal, the most dangerous class of mammals in the animal kingdom, again, merely due to their size and strength. They are grouped in with other apes, tigers, lions, bears, etc. While working in an AZA accredited zoo with Apes, keepers DO NOT work in contact with them. Meaning they do NOT go in with these animals. There is always a welded mesh barrier between the animal and the humans. In more recent decades, zoos have begun to redesign enclosures, removing all obvious caging and attempting to create a seamless view of the animals for the visitor to enjoy watching animals in a more natural looking habitat. this is great until little children begin falling into exhibits which of course can happen to anyone, especially in a crowded zoo-like setting. I have watched this video over again, and with the silverback’s postering, and tight lips, it’s pretty much the stuff of any keeper’s nightmares, and I have had MANY while working with them. This job is not for the complacent.

    Gorillas are kind, curious, and sometimes silly, but they are also very large, very strong animals. I always brought my OCD to work with me. checking and rechecking locks to make sure my animals and I remained separated before entering to clean. I keep hearing that the Gorilla was trying to protect the boy. I do not find this to be true. Harambe reaches for the boys hands and arms, but only to position the child better for his own displaying purposes. Males do very elaborate displays when highly agitated, slamming and dragging things about. Typically they would drag large branches, barrels and heavy weighted balls around to make as much noise as possible. Not in an effort to hurt anyone or anything (usually) but just to intimidate. It was clear to me that he was reacting to the screams coming from the gathering crowd. Harambe was most likely not going to separate himself from that child without seriously hurting him first (again due to mere size and strength, not malicious intent) Why didn’t they use treats? well, they attempted to call them off exhibit (which animals hate), the females in the group came in, but Harambe did not. What better treat for a captive animal than a real live kid! They didn’t use Tranquilizers for a few reasons, A. Harambe would’ve taken too long to become immobilized, and could have really injured the child in the process as the drugs used may not work quickly enough depending on the stress of the situation and the dose B. Harambe would’ve have drowned in the moat if immobilized in the water, and possibly fallen on the boy trapping him and drowning him as well. Many zoos have the protocol to call on their expertly trained dart team in the event of an animal escape or in the event that a human is trapped with a dangerous animal. They will evaluate the scene as quickly and as safely as possible, and will make the most informed decision as how they will handle the animal.”

  3. Slovenian Guest says:

    Bayou, the Renaissance Man, also points out how this was tried to be spun as a White privilege thing, but it turns out the little fella was black, what a party pooper!

  4. Calvin says:

    The child was dragged a considerable distance through the water filled moat. It is a miracle the kid did not drown.

  5. AAB says:

    Could they have used a taser instead of a gun?

  6. Isegoria says:

    Tasers are remarkably short-range weapons. The civilian models reach 15 feet; police models go to 25.

    Apparently a “wildlife technician” with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is looking into the effect of Tasers on bears and moose:

    Lewis said he first became interested in the subject in June of 2005 when an Alaska State Trooper asked for his assistance with an ornery cow moose.

    “I had an epiphany while being chased by an angry moose,” Lewis said.

    The cow moose was upset because her two calves were trapped in an open four-foot deep basement foundation at a home construction site. She would not leave the area, even when Lewis tried using noisemakers and rubber shotgun ammunition.
    Finally, Lewis said he tried to drop a ramp down into the pit so the calves would be able to walk out on their own. But when he approached the calves, the cow moose charged him, jumping into the foundation, across it and back out.
    It then chased Lewis and the trooper three times around the patrol car.

    Both men were armed but rather than shooting the moose, Lewis said the trooper used his Taser to shoot at the moose across the hood of the patrol car. The Taser’s barbed, conductive leads hit the moose in the left front shoulder. Stunned and immobilized, the moose hit the ground immediately. The leads pulled free as the moose fell and it quickly ran off into the woods, staying there long enough for Lewis to extract the calves from the basement and for both Lewis and the trooper to retreat safely to the patrol car.

    It worked so well on the moose, Lewis began wondering if Tasers might be used in similar circumstances with moose, and in other situations, with bears or other animals.

    Working with Lohuis and Beckmen, Lewis studied the effects of Tasers on about a half dozen captive moose at the Moose Research Center in Soldotna. He is also working with Taser International to improve a design of the non-lethal weapon for use on wildlife.

    To evaluate how the Tasers affected the moose, Beckmen took blood samples and studied stress in the animals before and after they were hit with Tasers.

    “It’s not without cost to the animal,” Lohuis said. “But that stress doesn’t appear to be long-term. Our blood samples indicated the moose started to return to normal within 20 to 30 minutes compared to the 24-48 hours it takes a moose to recover from being drugged.”

    The animals also did not react aggressively after being hit by Tasers. Instead, they fled.

  7. Slovenian Guest says:

    They talk about Harambe on this episode of Reasonable Doubt, the podcast with Adam Carolla and criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos. Mark also represented the victims of the 2007 San Fran zoo tiger attacks, which had one fatality.

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