Intimate footage shows final moments between boy and Harambe the gorilla (2023)

Intimate close-up footage captures the final moments of Harambe the gorilla before he was shot dead.

And it shows the three-year-old boy Isiah Dickerson playfully stroking the 'gentle' giant's fur.

Seconds later the gorilla appears to hold the boy's hand before touching him on the arm.

While all this is going on, panicked screams were heard as dozens of watching parents feared for the child's life.

But animal experts believe Harambe was trying to protect Isiah from other males in the group.

Eyewitnesses to the incident on Saturday have claimed the gorilla was showing no aggressive behaviour towards the boy.

Minutes later the endangered gorilla was shot dead by zoo staff fearing for the child's life.

In the astonishing video clip, Isaiah is seen calmly clutching the hand of the massive animal in the shallow waters of his pen.

Read more:'Mummy, I want to swim with the gorilla': Boy's last words before plunging into Harambe enclosure

The huge primate appears relaxed throughout the video - and even appears to help the boy to his feet at one stage.

Seemingly in awe of the huge primate in front of him, Isaiah appears nonplussed by the apparent danger.

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Were zookeepers right to kill the gorilla?


Speaking to Mirror Online, ape expert Dr Emily Bethell, a senior lecturer in Primate Behaviour at Liverpool John Moores University, revealed that the gorilla’s body language showed he was NOT threatening the child.

She gave a commentary over the video which you can see below.

Intimate footage shows final moments between boy and Harambe the gorilla (1)

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(Video) Gorilla Killed After Child Falls Into Zoo Habitat

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Dr Bethell said: “He was clearly being protective towards the boy.

“There were no signs of the gorilla being aggressive in the sense that he wanted to hurt the boy or anything like that.

“The biggest threat to the boy I would say is obviously when the gorilla moved and dragged him, that could have caused some harm, but the gorilla’s body language is definitely protective.”

In the latest video from the dramatic scene in Cincinnati, Ohio, the boy is seen sitting calmly next to the massive animal.

In one moment, the gorilla even appears to wrap his arms around the boy.

At one point the boy and gorilla even appear to briefly hold hands.

Emily continued: “I would speculate that the boy is a new stimulus, he’s something novel.

“The gorillas would never have seen a child at such close quarters.

“The child obviously wasn’t posing any threat to the gorillas so there’s no need to attack him and I think it’s fortunate for the boy that one gorilla came over and effectively shielded him and kept the other gorillas away.

“I think it looks mostly like a case of extreme interest by the gorillas.”

The boy's mother Michelle has faced criticism for social media users and animal rights campaigners, who claim she should have been keeping a closer eye on her child.

Some animal lovers even suggested she and the boy's father Deonne Dickerson should have been shot and killed instead of the gorilla Harambe.

Responding to the criticism on Facebook, she said: "I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers today.

"What started off as a wonderful day turned into a scary one.

"For those of you that have seen the news or been on social media that was my son that fell in the gorilla exhibit at the zoo.

"God protected my child until the authorities were able to get to him."

Brittany Nicely was at the zoo with her children when she witnessed the incident.

Writing on Facebook after the incident, she said: "R.I.P Harambe so so sad.

"Witnessing this situation and hearing them shoot him has been one of the most horrific things I have ever been a part of.

(Video) Gorilla drags 3-year-old in shocking video

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"My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the staff at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and the people who witnessed it.

"Also sending prayers for a speedy recovery of the little boy!"

Mrs Nicely has also claimed that the gorilla was not being aggressive towards the boy.

"I tried to prevent it," she added. "I tried to grab him and I just couldn’t get to him fast enough.

"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."

The mother of the boy who fell into the enclosure said that "accidents happen" on a Facebook post hitting out at critics.

"My son is safe and was able to walk away with a concussion and a few scrapes... no broken bones or internal injuries.

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"As a society we are quick to judge how a parent could take their eyes off of their child and if anyone knows me I keep a tight watch on my kids.

(Video) Experts Weigh In On Harambe's Last Moments

"Accidents happen but I am thankful that the right people were in the right place today."

Jerry Stones, 74, from Texas, raised 17-year-old Harambe since birth, and described him as a "gentle giant".

Speaking of his reaction to the news, he said: "An old man can cry, too.

Read more:

"He was a special guy in my life. Harambe was my heart. It's like losing a member of the family."

“I raised him from a baby, he was a sweet cute little guy. He grew up to be a pretty, beautiful male. He was very intelligent. Very, very intelligent.

"His mind was going constantly. He was just such a sharp character."

The gorilla's former zoo also paid tribute to the animal on Facebook.

Police officers are deciding whether to charge the parents with child neglect.

Read more:

Animal lovers are outraged after the endangered animal had to be shot dead by zoo staff to protect the youngster.

More than 70,000 petitioners have signed up to a campaign on calling for the parents to be investigated after the child fell up to 12 feet into the enclosure.

And fury at Cincinnati Zoo continues to mount as animal lovers demand an explanation as to why the 17-year-old gorilla named Herambe was not tranquilised.

Eyewitnesses have even claimed that the animal was NOT hurting the child... and was in fact trying to protect it but was panicked by the screams of onlookers.

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The petition reads: "This beautiful gorilla lost his life because the boy's parents did not keep a closer watch on the child. We the undersigned believe that the child would not have been able to enter the enclosure under proper parental supervision.

"Witnesses claim that they heard the child state that he wished to go into the enclosure and was actively trying to breach the barriers.

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"This should have prompted the parents to immediately remove the child from the vicinity. It is believed that the situation was caused by parental negligence and the zoo is not responsible for the child's injuries and possible trauma.

"We the undersigned want the parents to be held accountable for the lack of supervision and negligence that caused Harambe to lose his life."

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"Please sign this petition to encourage the Cincinnati Zoo, Hamilton County Child Protection Services, and Cincinnati Police Department hold the parents responsible."

And police in Ohio have said that charges could be brought against the parents as their investigation continues.

(Video) Timeline of events when child fell into gorilla exhibit at Cincinnati Zoo

The child was taken to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Centre and is said to have sustained no serious injuries.

Social media users have also slammed the zoo for killing the gorilla, despite claims by zoo bosses that the child was in "a life-threatening situation".

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One user wrote: "Pretty sad that an endangered gorilla was killed today because parents couldn't watch their kid."

Another said: "Today, an endangered gorilla was shot at the Cincy Zoo because a toddler's parents were to damn lazy to watch their child."

Director Thane Maynard said that authorities had no other choice but to put the 400-pound-plus male gorilla down.

He added: "They made a tough choice and they made the right choice because they saved that little boy's life.

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"It could have been very bad."

Zoo bosses claim the child crawled through a barrier before falling into the moat area.

Mr Maynard added that this was the first time that his team had killed a zoo animal in such an emergency situation.

He called it "a very sad day" at the zoo.

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(Video) Gorilla Carries 3-Year-Old Boy to Safety in 1996 Incident


What happened to the kid that got Harambe killed? ›

What happened to the child who fell into Harambe's enclosure? The 3-year-old child who fell into Harambe's enclosure was hospitalized for a short period of time but escaped from the incident relatively unscathed.

What was Harambe doing to the boy? ›

On May 28, 2016, a three-year-old boy climbed into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden where he was grabbed and dragged by Harambe. Fearing for the boy's life, a zoo worker shot and killed Harambe.

What happened to the boy with the gorilla? ›

During the terrifying ordeal, which was captured on camera, Harambe, a 17-year-old, 450-pound gorilla, grabbed onto the boy's hand and dragged him around the enclosure. Zoo officials shot and killed the animal in order to save the boy's life, Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard said.

What was the cause of Harambe's death? ›

Since Harambe, a 17-year-old silverback gorilla was shot dead at Cincinnati Zoo after a 4-year-old kid managed to get into his enclosure, many people were arguing that there was no need to kill the animal, claiming that he was actually trying to take care of the boy.

Did the kid who fell in Harambe cage get shot? ›

Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard confirmed the boy was not under attack, but called it a 'life threatening situation' where the gorilla was 'agitated', 'disoriented', and 'behaving erratically'.

Why wasn t Harambe tranquilized? ›

They later explained it was clear a tranquilizer was not an option because of the risk that tranquilizing Harambe would make him react dangerously. "It is important to note that with the child still in the exhibit, tranquilizing the 450-pound gorilla was not an option," the Cincinnati Zoo said in a statement.

What happened to the child that fell into gorilla cage? ›

The boy suffered a broken hand and cuts to his face. He spent four days in the hospital and recovered fully. Click here to read more about what happened to Harambe, the Cincinnati Zoo gorilla who was shot and killed Saturday.

What did they do with Harambe's body? ›

His body remains at the zoo, and the zoo's Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife collected viable sperm sample from Harambe when he died, which they will freeze and hopefully use in the future to artificially inseminate another animal.

Was Harambe killed right away? ›

Half a century later, their grandson, Harambe, made a choice not to heed the calls of the zookeepers to leave the exhibit. He made the first significant choice of his life, and ten minutes later, he was dead.

What did Harambe do to the child? ›

Harambe grabbed and dragged the little boy after the boy fell into the gorilla exhibit, officials said. Many are angry the endangered gorilla was put down. Others want the boy's mother to face child endangerment charges, CBS News' Jamie Yuccas reported. Facebook pages like "Justice for Harambe" are quickly spreading.

What happened to the dog that got into the gorilla? ›

San Diego Humane Society Officer Brandt with Meatball after he was rescued from the gorilla enclosure at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park on June 12. He has been reunited with his owner.

How old is Isaiah Dickerson now? ›

18-year-old Isaiah Dickerson died at the scene.

Who is the mom who got Harambe killed? ›

That, writ large, is what Cincinnati mother Michelle Gregg has been enduring since her three-year-old son slipped into the zoo enclosure of a 420-lb. lowland gorilla named Harambe—a drama captured on a video that went globally viral.

Who was the kid responsible for Harambe? ›

Three-year-old Isiah Gregg has been seen for the first time back as a normal three-year-old: clutching a toy truck and wearing an orange Nintendo Super Mario T-shirt that read 'I Make Awesome Happen. ' The scars of his experience were clearly visible in the form of scrapes on his forehead and elbow.

What happened to Isaiah Dickerson? ›

Isiah Dickerson, who sustained minor injuries, was with his mother Michelle Gregg when he somehow made his way through a barrier and into a moat where he was lifted up by Harambe the gorilla. Within minutes the 17-year-old 204 kilogram silverback was killed by zookeepers who feared for Isiah's safety.

Did they get the dog out of the gorilla enclosure? ›

Owner of dog safely removed from gorilla enclosure at San Diego Zoo Safari Park comes forward. The dog temporarily named "Mighty Joe Young” has been reclaimed and we've also learned that his name is Meatball.

What was Bob the gorilla hiding? ›

“On his morning checks, our gorilla caregiver discovered Bobo cradling a young, wild bush baby,” Ape Action Africa spokeswoman Elissa O'Sullivan told Bored Panda. “The bush baby showed no fear of Bobo, moving around his body and spending time hopping around in an open grassy area, before choosing to return to Bobo.”

How long does it take to sedate a gorilla? ›

Hubbell isn't sure which drugs the Cincinnati Zoo uses, but adds that a sedative agent such as medetomidine is often combined with a hallucinogen like ketamine. "I know of no drug that would have an immediate effect," he says. According to one study, it takes over 5 minutes for a gorilla to pass out.

Did they remove the Harambe statue? ›

A gigantic bronze statue of Harambe, a gorilla that was shot dead at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2016, was installed on Tuesday in front of Facebook's headquarters in California before it was quickly removed.

How old was the kid Harambe killed? ›

On May 28, 2016, a 3-year-old boy fell into the animal's enclosure and began to be dragged around by the Western Lowland Gorilla. Zoo officials made the difficult decision to shoot Harambe, which resulted in his death.

Did the 4 year old that fell in a gorilla cage survive? ›

Child falls into gorilla cage at Cincinnati Zoo, rescued from 400-pound male gorilla. A 4-year-old boy was lucky to be alive Saturday after falling into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo in a horrifying incident that ended with the 400-pound primate being shot dead.

Did Snowflake the gorilla have a baby? ›

Snowflake had three gorilla girlfriends, who were the mothers of the 21 children that he fathered. He also had at least ten grandchildren. Four of his children are still alive.

Was Harambe sperm saved? ›

Harambe, who was 17, had not been mature enough to breed but his sperm was collected after his death for possible future reproductive use, as well as for research purposes.

Can a gorilla survive a gunshot? ›

Can a gorilla survive a gunshot? Depends on the bullet caliber, in most cases, yes. The head is not the only kill zone on a mammal' body.

What type of animal was Harambe who was shot after a child fell into it's enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo? ›

The zoo said in a statement that the boy "fell into the exhibit's moat." A male Western Lowland gorilla was in the yard with the child – and "the Zoo's Dangerous Animal Response Team responded to the life-threatening situation and made the difficult decision to dispatch the gorilla (Harambe)."

Who was the gorilla killed after child falls? ›

What happened next prompted internet outrage across the world: a gorilla was killed. That gorilla was named "Harambe". Harambe was the 17-year-old western lowland gorilla who had noticed that the boy fell into the enclosure. He approached the boy and grabbed him.

How long do gorillas live? ›

Is Harambe buried? ›

But there was no burial for the gorilla shot and killed Saturday after a child fell into his exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo. Nor will his remains be cremated and his ashes scattered, perhaps, around Gorilla World. Instead, through science, part of Harambe may live on in future offspring.

Who was the gorilla that saved a boy's life? ›

Binti Jua (born March 17, 1988) is a female western lowland gorilla in the Brookfield Zoo, in Brookfield, Illinois, outside of Chicago, US. She received media attention after a situation in 1996 in which she tended to a three-year-old boy who had been injured by falling into her enclosure.

What is the meaning of the word Harambe? ›

A long-standing Kenyan tradition, a harambee is a type of self-help event that's deeply ingrained in the moral compass of the country. The word means “all pull together” in Kiswahili, Kenya's national language.

How strong is a gorilla? ›

Gorillas are stronger than you and me combined. The silverbacks are in fact stronger than 20 adult humans combined as they can lift or throw up to 815 kgs while a well-trained man can only lift up to 400 kgs. Any adult gorilla can lift up to 450 kilograms, not with a body size that can go as high as 200kgs.

Did they ever catch that gorilla that escaped from the zoo? ›

BUFFALO, New York (Reuters) - A 400-pound adult male gorilla escaped his cage at the Buffalo Zoo on Monday, biting a female zookeeper before being tranquilized and captured in what a SWAT team leader called, “the scariest thing I've ever done.”

Is Snowflake the gorilla still alive? ›

He was a western lowland gorilla. He was kept at Barcelona Zoo in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, from 1966 until his death in 2003.
Snowflake (gorilla)
SpeciesWestern lowland gorilla
Bornc. 1964 Spanish Guinea
DiedNovember 24, 2003 (aged 38–39) Barcelona Zoo, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Years active1966–2003
2 more rows

What happened to Snowflake the gorilla? ›

The end came on November 24, 2003, when Snowflake died from cancer. “Until the end Snowflake enjoyed a fantastic quality of life, interacting normally with his children and grandchildren,” said the zoo's chief, Jesus Fernandez. But while Snowflake may be gone, his legacy remains.

Who was Isaiah Dickerson? ›

Isaiah Dickerson was born July 22, 2002 in Mobile, Al. He was a long time member of Boys & Girls Club of South Al. His early years were spent at the Kiwanis Boys & Girls Club. His teen years were spent at the Optimist Boys & Girls Club.

Who is Isaiah from Harambe? ›

' Grandmother of boy who crawled into gorilla enclosure says they 'could have gone another route' to rescue him. The grandmother of three-year-old Isiah Gregg whose fall into Cincinnati Zoo gorilla enclosure led to the death of silverback Harambe believes the zoo did not need to kill the animal.

Who is Kiki the gorilla? ›

Kiki, age 40, is the oldest member of the gorilla troop at Franklin Park Zoo. The gorilla troop will be off-exhibit during Kiki's procedure, and baby Pablo will be watched over by his older sisters, Kambiri and Aziza, until Kiki has recovered enough to be reunited with her little one.

Who shot Max the gorilla? ›

Max (6 March 1971 – 5 May 2004) was a western lowland gorilla held at the Johannesburg Zoo who in 1997 was shot and wounded by Isaac Mofokeng, a criminal who entered his enclosure at the zoo while attempting to evade police.

How old was Colo the gorilla when she died? ›

Colo celebrated her 60th birthday on December 22, 2016. The Columbus Zoo announced that Colo died in her sleep on January 17, 2017.

Why was Guy the gorilla called guy? ›

Guy arrived at the zoo on 5 November 1947, Guy Fawkes Night, hence his name. A baby, holding a small tin hot-water bottle, he weighed just 23 lb (10 kg). Guy was the replacement for the zoo's previous gorilla, Meng, who had died in 1941.

What happened to the parents of the kid who got Harambe killed? ›

Michelle Gregg, 32, and Deonne Dickerson, 36, have suffered an online backlash from animal lovers and been accused of neglectful parenting. Mr Dickerson was sentenced to a year in jail in 2006 for drug trafficking, said the Daily Mail.

Was Harambe trying to protect the boy? ›

Primatologist Jane Goodall said that according to the video it seemed Harambe was trying to protect the child. Goodall later issued a longer explanation in an interview with the president of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, concluding that the zoo had no choice but to kill Harambe.

What happened to the gorilla that saved the boy? ›

Harambe was fatally shot during the rescue. "The Zoo security team's quick response saved the child's life," Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard said. But he expressed remorse that the Western lowland silverback, a critically endangered species, had to be killed.

Who was the kid who survived Harambe? ›

A British man who was protected by a silverback gorilla when he was a kid explained how the incident shaped his life. Long before the tragic case of Harambe, Levan Merritt had a much more positive experience when he fell into a gorilla's enclosure at Jersey Zoo - and it's all thanks to Jambo, aka the 'Gentle Giant'.

Who was the mother of Harambe kid? ›

Michelle Gregg, mother of the 3-year-old whose fall into the Cincinnati Zoo's gorilla enclosure necessitated the tragic shooting death of silverback Harambe, will not face trial for -- well, what, exactly?

What happened to Harambe's body? ›

His body remains at the zoo, and the zoo's Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife collected viable sperm sample from Harambe when he died, which they will freeze and hopefully use in the future to artificially inseminate another animal.


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