Defending the Cincinnati Zoo: Raw footage of the gorilla attack and the reason it had to be killed

I wasn’t going to say anything about this because I love the Cincinnati Zoo and it was really difficult for them to have to shoot one of their prime gorillas when a four-year old boy fell down into their very nice exhibit over Memorial Day weekend.  Unfortunately most of the news outlets did not show how violent the gorilla had been to the little boy cutting out the harshest moments.  At times the gorilla looked to be protective of the child, and he likely was.  But, things can turn nasty in a moment and anybody who knows anything about animals like these types of gorillas understands that once a human being is in a closed exhibit with a much stronger creature that trouble is highly probable.  So here is the original footage to add context to the situation.

The Cincinnati Zoo is one of the best in the world and I commend the team on staff who had to make an incredibly difficult decision that will cost them greatly.  I don’t blame the mother, I don’t blame the kid, and I certainly don’t blame the zoo.  It was just something that happens and the value of such zoo exhibits are worth the danger.  It is really our responsibility as a human species to respect the dangerous tendency of all animals and not to provoke them.  Below is another example of an aggressive gorilla at another exhibit which might better explain why the Cincinnati Zoo felt they needed to act so quickly.  Notice that when the child beats on its chest in the reflection on the window glass, the gorilla took that as a challenge and attacked the glass—cracking it.

Here is the same exhibit where the same two gorillas got into a sudden fight in front of the spectators.  Listen to the stupid comments of the visitors.  The best thing a zoo can do is protect everyone the best they can and use the profit generated to help save more animals around the world.  For the best experience, zoos try very hard to put visitors as close to the natural habitat of the animals.   But danger is inherit, and that slight threat should always be present in the back of our minds while visiting.   Sometimes in Sea World when dealing with killer whales, people get killed.  And sometimes when dealing with dangerous gorillas bad things happen.

However, it’s important to have these exhibits for both the animals and the humans who visit so that our species can learn something from them.  They need our protection and we need to understand their nature.  When bad things happen, we all need to shrug it off and get to the next day.  The best thing you could do dear reader is to support your local zoo for the service they provide.  And if you live in Cincinnati like I do, make sure to throw a little money in their direction every now and then.  They are some of the best in the business and losing a gorilla is a great loss to them—and they need your support, not your criticism.  Zoos aren’t day cares.  They need to be respected as well as enjoyed.  So treat them that way and visit the Cincinnati Zoo as often as you can.

Rich Hoffman


Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  Use my name to get added benefits.

5 thoughts on “Defending the Cincinnati Zoo: Raw footage of the gorilla attack and the reason it had to be killed

  1. I don’t blame the zoo, and certainly not the child, but the mother?? It was reported that the child said he “wanted to go down there and swim with the gorilla” and that he kept trying to get away from her to do so–sorry but she should have had her hands on him the entire time, particularly when he stated thats what he wanted to do. I understand how overwhelming it can be to go places with several children and if thats the case, a zoo with dangerous animals is not the best place to go and become distracted. Ive been at that exhibit and it takes a lot to get through the barriers. Sorry to sound judgy, but this was just plain stupidity. but the zoo made the best choice to save the child, as sad as it is.


    1. I hear what you’re saying. But honestly, I was a lot like that kid so I understand. Mothers can love and guide, but when you have a kid that is unstoppably curious, these kinds of things can happen. Its a shame, but sometimes its better to have a kid fall into a pit with a caged silverback gorilla than to crush that curiosity for their entire life to stay in the safety of the fence. Its a tough job for a mother.


  2. “At times the gorilla looked to be protective of the child, and he likely was. But, things can turn nasty in a moment…”

    Exactly. A split decision was made and, while the ending is certainly not ideal, the child is doing well. The whole article is spot-on.


    1. I LOVE the Cincinnati Zoo! But now all the second handers are going to show up to advance themselves in the wake of the tragedy. Not fair to the zoo which provides a great service for both the animals and the visitors.


  3. My children were members of The Junior Zoologist program and I was a tour guide at the zoo. I took my Cub Scout pact on a tour of the zoo without incident. I do know that the leaders of the zoo make every effort to keep the zoo safe and friendly. The zoo is a marvelous place for learning. I would hope that their long history of safety and preservation of endangered species would ensure continued support by the citizens.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.