The Cincinnati Zoo was also sharply criticized.
He said the gathering wasn’t meant to assess blame but rather to honor Harambe, who turned 17 the day before he was shot.
“I’m not a finger-pointer”, Maynard said during Monday’s news conference.
New video footage has since surfaced, showcasing that the gorilla was in fact “acting protectively”, of the little boy.
Kimberley Ann Perkins O’Connor, who captured part of the incident on her phone, told CNN she overheard the boy joking to his mother about going into the water. “I don’t feel like it was neglectful … she had three other kids that she was with. No, you’re not, ‘” O’Connor said.
An undated photo of Harambe.
There has been public outcry denouncing the zoo for killing the gorilla, but officials say the decision was necessary to avoid the risk of having the giant animal crush the boy by mistake. A Facebook page called “Justice for Harambe” created Saturday night has drawn wide attention. He noted that the 190-kilogram gorilla didn’t appear to be attacking the child but was in an “agitated situation” and was “extremely strong”. “We are all devastated that this tragic accident resulted in the death of a critically endangered gorilla”, Maynard said.
At first, it looked like Harambe, a western lowland gorilla, was trying to help the boy, say bystanders.
Maynard said the exhibit was safe, and they have never had a problem with anybody getting past the array of steel wires before. “Not everyone shares the same opinion and that’s OK”.
“From what we saw [the child] could have been killed at any second”, Bruce Davis, who was with Hollifield, said.
It was an exception to the rule, said Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Director Thane Maynard, and it could have been a lot worse when a young boy climbed into the zoo’s gorilla exhibit Saturday. “Zoos can not even begin to meet these magnificent animals’ complex needs”, it said, urging people to choose cruelty-free entertainment and “take a hike in the woods and watch wildlife in their natural habitat”.
The boy, who has not been identified, was taken to Children’s Hospital and released later Saturday evening. His mother released a statement on Sunday, saying that he is doing “just fine”. Additionally, more than 115,000 outraged people have signed a petition on Change.org calling for the boy’s parents “to be held accountable for their actions of not supervising their child”.
Cincinnati police on Sunday said the parents had not been charged, but that charges could eventually be sought by the Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney. A spokeswoman for the family said Monday they had no plans to comment.
” I heard the splash, didn’t think much about it, the female started moving towards the edge, and i heard a man yell, there’s a child in there, there’s a child in there, everybody started screaming”, said O’Connor. “So when it was determined that the child was being injured… we had to make a decision”. Lowland gorillas are very endangered animals, there aren’t very many in captivity.