CINCINNATI, Ohio (WLWT) – A 4-year-old child who was rescued from Gorilla World at the Cincinnati Zoo was released from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Saturday night, zoo officials said.
The boy crawled through a railing and fell into a moat in the gorilla habitat Saturday afternoon.
The family of the boy released the following statement Sunday afternoon:
“We are so thankful to the Lord that our child is safe. He is home and doing just fine. We extend our heartfelt thanks for the quick action by the Cincinnati Zoo staff. We know that this was a very difficult decision for them, and that they are grieving the loss of their gorilla. We hope that you will respect our privacy at this time.”
The gorilla was shot and killed by the zoo’s dangerous animal response team after it dragged the boy through the water in the moat.
“Our first response was to call the gorillas out of the exhibit. The two females complied, but Harambe did not,” said Zoo Director Thayne Maynard.
He added that tranquilizing the 450-pound gorilla “was not an option.”
“Tranquilizers do not take effect for several minutes and the child was in imminent danger,” said Maynard. “On top of that, the impact from the dart could agitate the animal and cause the situation to get much worse.”
He added, “We’re glad to hear that the child is going to be okay. We’re touched by the outpouring of support from the community and our members who loved Harambe,” said Maynard. “The Zoo family is going through a painful time, and we appreciate your understanding and know that you care about our animals and the people who care for them.”
The zoo houses nine western lowland gorillas, the zoo said. The zoo is open as usual but Gorilla World will be closed until further notice.