New Footage Shows 400 Pound Gorilla ‘Protecting,’ HOLDING HANDS With Child Before Being Fatally Shot [VIDEO]

New Footage Shows 400 Pound Gorilla ‘Protecting,’ HOLDING HANDS With Child Before Being Fatally Shot [VIDEO]

In a “Cecil-The-Lion” style outrage, Americans have become focused on a story coming out of the Cincinnati Zoo where a gorilla was shot after a small child fell into his enclosure.

Witnesses to the incident say the gorilla was “acting protectively” toward the child and even held his hand before being terminated.

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From The Daily Mail:

New video footage of Harambe the gorilla suggests he was trying to protect a four-year-old boy who fell into the zoo enclosure just minutes before the 400-pound animal was fatally shot.

The clip shows Harambe standing guard over the boy in the corner of the moat, and the two even share a brief moment holding hands.

Witnesses said the gorilla was acting protectively in the tense situation, which may have been aggravated by panicked onlookers who screamed as they watched from above.

Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard confirmed the boy was not under attack, but he described it as ‘an extremely strong animal in an agitated situation’ before supporting the response team’s decision to kill Harambe.

The incident, which was captured on cell phone, has sparked an outcry of emotion, with thousands of mourners branding it a ‘senseless death’.

A vigil for Harambe is being held outside the Cincinnati Zoo today. The organizer Anthony Seta, who describes himself as an animal rights advocate, called it a ‘senseless death’ but clarified the vigil was ‘not a protest against the zoo’.

A mother who was at the zoo said she tried to stop the child, who authorities believe crawled past the railing and fell 10 feet into the gorilla’s habitat, where he spent more than 10 minutes.

‘I tried to prevent it, I tried to grab him and I just couldn’t get to him fast enough,’ Brittany Nicely told WHIO.

According to Nicely, the gorilla was acting protectively towards the boy and did not exhibit any threatening behavior.

A newly released video shows Harambe standing over the boy in the corner of the moat, appearing to shield him from the screaming crowd above.

The animal then dragged the boy by the leg, but the two shared a surprisingly tender moment when the four-year-old reached for Harambe’s arm and the two briefly held hands.

According to the fire department incident report, the gorilla was ‘violently dragging and throwing the child’, WLWT reported.

But Nicely contradicted the account, saying: ‘What the first responders saw, I’m just not sure…They said he was violently throwing the child around, which seems crazy to me.

‘They have a picture of the boy sitting in front of the gorilla moments before they shot him.’

Kim O’Connor told WLWT she heard the boy talking about getting into the water before she heard a splash, followed by frantic yelling when onlookers realized he was inside the enclosure.

According to O’Connor, the gorilla looked like he was trying to protect the boy from panicked bystanders who may have aggravated the tense situation.

‘I don’t know if the screaming did it or too many people hanging on the edge, if he thought we were coming in, but then he pulled the boy down away further from the big group,’ she said.

Harambe later dragged the four-year-old out of the moat before he was fatally shot with a rifle while the boy was still between the animal’s legs.

The zoo director confirmed the gorilla did not appear to be attacking the child, but he described it as ‘an extremely strong animal in an agitated situation’.

‘You’re talking about an animal that’s over 400 pounds and extremely strong. So no, the child wasn’t under attack but all sorts of things could happen in a situation like that. He certainly was at risk,’ Maynard told WLWT.

He explained that tranquilizing the gorilla, which could have taken several attempts, would have left the boy in danger since the effect would not have been immediate.

He also said in a statement released Sunday: ‘The impact from the dart could agitate the animal and cause the situation to get much worse.

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Watch the video below:

Do you think Harambe had to die to save the child?

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