Friday 9 December 2016

Ohio zoo where gorilla shot dead take down twitter accounts after being targeted by trolls

Dan Sewell, in Cincinnati

Published 23/08/2016 | 18:08

Harambe the gorilla, who was shot dead by zoo keepers
Harambe the gorilla, who was shot dead by zoo keepers

The Twitter accounts of an Ohio zoo targeted by online critics and trolls over the shooting of a gorilla have been taken down.

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The Cincinnati Zoo has said it is not amused by the memes, online petitions and signs about Harambe, a 17-year-old great ape killed in May by a special zoo response team after a three-year-old boy got into his enclosure. Harambe has been mourned, memorialised and satirised nearly continuously since his death.

Those seeking the Twitter sites on Tuesday of the zoo or its director, Thane Maynard, got messages saying, "Sorry, that page doesn't exist!"

A zoo spokeswoman confirmed that it has deactivated its accounts.

Mr Maynard recently told The Associated Press by email that the zoo family is "still healing".

"We are honoring Harambe by redoubling our gorilla conservation efforts and encouraging others to join us ," he wrote.

The zoo reopened its gorilla exhibit in June with a higher, reinforced barrier. The county prosecutor concluded no charges were warranted after the boy scampered off from his mother, got though some bushes and fell about 15 feet into a shallow moat. The special response team shot the agitated gorilla to protect the boy, who was treated for scrapes.

Animal rights activists and other critics said the shooting could have been avoided.

The zoo's actions are still under review by the US Department of Agriculture.

The Cincinnati Zoo has said it is not amused by the memes, online petitions and signs about Harambe, a 17-year-old great ape killed in May by a special zoo response team after a three-year-old boy got into his enclosure. Harambe has been mourned, memorialised and satirised nearly continuously since his death.

Those seeking the Twitter sites on Tuesday of the zoo or its director, Thane Maynard, got messages saying, "Sorry, that page doesn't exist!"

A zoo spokeswoman confirmed that it has deactivated its accounts.

Mr Maynard recently told The Associated Press by email that the zoo family is "still healing".

"We are honoring Harambe by redoubling our gorilla conservation efforts and encouraging others to join us ," he wrote.

The zoo reopened its gorilla exhibit in June with a higher, reinforced barrier. The county prosecutor concluded no charges were warranted after the boy scampered off from his mother, got though some bushes and fell about 15 feet into a shallow moat. The special response team shot the agitated gorilla to protect the boy, who was treated for scrapes.

Animal rights activists and other critics said the shooting could have been avoided.

The zoo's actions are still under review by the US Department of Agriculture.

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