CT zoo officials weigh in on Cincinnati zoo incident - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT zoo officials weigh in on Cincinnati zoo incident

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The child somehow got in the 450 pound animal’s exhibit. The child somehow got in the 450 pound animal’s exhibit.
BRIDGEPORT, CT (WFSB) -

It is a harrowing video of a child coming face-to-face with a gorilla.

The child somehow got in the 450 pound animal’s exhibit.

After a brief staredown, the video goes on to show the child being dragged, and Cincinnati Zoo officials eventually shot and killed the gorilla.

The terrifying incident sparked a debate throughout the country…should the zoo have taken those extreme measures and are the parents partly to blame?

Eyewitness News went to a local zoo on Tuesday, the Beardsley Zoo. While they have never had gorillas, they have had tigers and other dangerous cats so they are familiar with animals that pose a risk, and experts said in the heat of the moment, it looked like officials really had no way out.

“It's really hard to point the blame on any one person or thing, and sometimes things come together to make a tragedy and this is one of those,” said Beardsley Zoo Director Gregg Dancho.

“When they're threatened or trying to threaten you, they'll grab a log and drag it around and throw it as hard it can to make you back off. You can kind of see that happening in there,” Dancho said describing the video.

Since the incident happened over the weekend, hundreds have chimed in on the Channel 3 Facebook page, asking why tranquilizing wasn’t an option.

“When we dart an animal, it takes 10-15 minutes to take effect. Being tranquillized did not look like it was going to solve any issues,” Dancho said.

Others had questions for the parents, like how could they take their eyes off their child to a point where he could get over the barrier, through the bushes, and into the moat.

Dancho said Beardsley and every other certified zoo has strict safety procedures that they conduct daily, but in the end, they can’t be responsible for every patron that passes through.

“Children are children, you always have to expect the unexpected with youngsters,” Dancho said.

The boy’s family said he is back home and is doing fine.

Do you think the Cincinnati zookeepers were right to kill 17-year-old gorilla Harambe? Vote in our poll here.

To see more photos of Harambe, click here.

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