Ugh: Gorilla Shot And Killed At Cincinnati Zoo After 4-Year-Old Kid Gets Into Enclosure

There are lots of tough decisions everyone makes in life, like deciding to drink red or white, or whether to pay your student loan bills or rent (both? Don’t be insane; I’m not made of money, guys). And then there’s the decisions that zookeepers have to make. After a boy fell into a zoo enclosure this weekend, Cincinnati Zoo officials shot a gorilla because he picked the kid up and dragged him around. “It could have been very bad,” Thane Maynard, the zoo director, told reporters after the incident. “We have protocols and procedures, we do drills with our dangerous-animal response team,” he said.

Like, how can you tell if a gorilla dragging a small child around is going to eat him or just groom him to become the next Mowgli? You can’t know. All around, it looks like the staff made the best decision, even if it sucks that they had to kill a gorilla.

A 4-year-old “slipped” into the enclosure while visiting the zoo and botanical gardens with his family. Right away, the zookeepers somehow managed to get two female gorillas out of the way, but Harambe, a male gorilla, sauntered right over and picked the kid up out of the moat. It would be a whole different story if Harambe had handed him back to his parents, but he didn’t. The gorilla dragged the toddler back to his hut and all around. This went on for about 15 minutes, according to CNN. Terrifying.

According to zoo officials, it had to be done. They could have given Harambe a tranquilizer, but that takes minutes to sink in and take effect. When it comes to a  4-year-old being dragged around by a 400-pound gorilla, minutes are way too long. Luckily, the kid went to the hospital for a standard check up and didn’t have any injuries. Except nightmares for the rest of his life.

And yes, we can all be pissed at the parents. I’m sure they’re pissed at themselves. But like, 4-year-olds are wily fuckers. Even the most attentive parent could lose sight for a minute, especially at a crowded zoo, and knowing 4-year-olds, that little asshole would find a way in there. He would totally do that shit. So yes, this is a huge bummer, but let’s not hang the parents.

“Harambe was a good guy. He was a youngster, just starting to grow up,” Maynard said. The zoo also had plans to breed other lowland gorillas with Harambe, who had just turned 17 years old. According to the World Wildlife Fund, west lowland gorillas like Harambe are considered “critically endangered.” The Cincinnati Zoo has had gorillas for 30 years — his death is kind of a big deal.

That being said, as soon as the kid slipped into the exhibit everyone went ape-shit (no pun intended). The zoo officials had to make a quick, tough call amidst the insanity about putting the gorilla down or just hoping that the boy would make it. I feel for Harambe, but maybe the zoo director is right. It could have been very, very bad.