Rare gorilla shot dead after boy falls into zoo enclosure

A rare gorilla has been shot dead at a zoo in the U.S. after it grabbed a young child that had fallen into the enclosure.

The gorilla, weighing more than 180kg, held the four-year-old boy for about 10 minutes before he was shot by a dangerous animal response team, the head of Cincinnati Zoo said on Saturday.

“A young boy crawled through a barrier at the gorilla centre and through some bushes and fell into the moat,” zoo director Thayne Maynard told reporters.


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“Harambe, our 17-year-old gorilla male, went down and got him … and was moving him around,” he said.

“The child wasn’t under attack, but was certainly at risk.

“It seemed to be a life-threatening situation,” Maynard said.

The response team says they were forced to take a lethal approach rather than tranquilisers, as the drugs would not have worked immediately and the boy would have been in more danger.

It’s understood the boy was taken to hospital but his condition is unknown.