Gorilla killed at Cincinnati zoo had been "protecting" fallen child

Gorilla killed at Cincinnati zoo had been

Brittany Nicely, who was visiting Cincinnati Zoo on Saturday when the incident happened, has suggested the silverback was simply trying to shield the boy from the large and noisy crowd that had gathered.

The director also defended the animal's enclosure, which many have said must have been overly weak in terms of security if a four-year-old could penetrate it.

He said the zoo remains safe for its 1.6 million annual visitors, but a review is underway to determine whether any improvements can be made.

The barrier separating visitors from the gorilla enclosure exceeded "any required protocols", Maynard said, adding that while the barrier is over 3 feet high, "anyone" can climb it if they "want to", comparing it to burglars gaining access to a locked house or auto.

He says the decision to shoot saved the boy's life.

"The mother's like, 'No, you're not".

He said killing the gorilla was the only way to protect the child.

CBS News' Jamie Yuccas reports the gorilla's death is also sparking social media outrage toward the mom.

More than 200,000 people have signed online petitions on Change.org protesting the shooting of the Western lowland gorilla, whose species is listed as endangered.

Harambe, the gorilla who was shot dead after a boy fell into his enclosure on Saturday, may have a future of sorts after zoo staff revealed they had frozen his sperm. Zoo director Thane Maynard said the team made the right call, noting that although Harambe did not appear to be attacking the child, he was placed in an "agitated situation", according to the Associated Press.

The zoo said that it's the first such spectator breach at Gorilla World since it opened in 1978. She said no, but the boy entered a moat in the gorilla exhibit anyway.

"This is very emotional and people have expressed different feelings", Maynard said by email. "Not everyone shares the same opinion, and that's OK. But we all share the love for animals".

Less than two years ago, the Little Rock Zoo dealt with a similar situation when a three-year-old fell into the zoo's jaguar enclosure.

The parents released a statement on Sunday that said the boy was "doing just fine". Afterward, police will talk with prosecutors about whether charges are warranted, the office said.

The boy's family commended the quick actions of the rangers stating that it was "a very hard decision for them".

"I do think there's a degree of responsibility they have to be held to", said Villanueva, a 28-year-old mother of two children.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said the zoo should have better barriers between humans and the gorillas.

Gregg has faced an onslaught of social media attention after zoo keepers shot and killed the endangered gorilla that was dragging the boy.

Stalf said there's no question the zoo did the right thing.

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