Harambe gorilla enclosure may be to blame in zoo incident

Harambe became an icon and social media sensation after his death.
Image: Icon Sportswire via AP Images

Federal regulators have determined that the Cincinnati Zoo enclosure that housed Harambe the gorilla that inspired countless memes was not up to their standards.

Harambe, an endangered gorilla, was shot and killed in May after a 3-year-old boy slipped inside the enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. A U.S. Agriculture Department inspection report released Thursday found that the gorilla exhibit barrier was not in compliance with enclosure standards, the Associated Press reported.

Inspectors said in the report that there was slack in the wire cables, which could be pulled apart 8 inches. The gorilla exhibit had bushes and other tall plants before a 15-foot drop into a moat.

The zoo’s barrier had been considered in compliance during earlier inspections.

The report also stated that the zoo’s response was appropriate in order to protect the child. The boy was not seriously injured in the incident.

The family of the boy said in a statement that the report findings don’t change anything and that they remain thankful for their son’s safety and the “quick actions” by zoo staff, and “mourn with (the zoo) the loss of Harambe.”

Harambe became famous after his death, even garnering thousands of presidential write-in votes. A social media movement expressing anger and mourning for the 17-year-old male western lowland gorilla spread and grew vicious toward the zoo. Many tributes came in meme form.

Social media attacks against the Cincinnati Zoo become so constant that it shut down its Twitter account in August. It didn’t start tweeting again until mid-October.

A memorial went up at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden after Harambe was killed by a zoo response team after a boy slipped into the exhibit.

Image: AP Photo/John Minchillo

Following Thursday’s findings, a federal investigation will continue and could lead to fines or disciplinary action, the AP reported.

BONUS: Pomeranian beauty from the last 100 Years

Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/11/17/harambe-enclosure-report-findings/