A Shocking Sight
Imagine you’re enjoying a fun day at the zoo when suddenly you hear a scream near the gorilla exhibit. People begin to panic and shout, while your curiosity is suddenly piqued. As you approach the enclosure, you spot people pointing down into the pen and you realize there’s a small child that has fallen into the exhibit.
It seems like a tale out of a Hollywood movie, but sadly children falling into zoo enclosures happens more than you think.
The most recent incident happened in 2016 when a young boy fell into the gorilla enclosure at The Cincinnati Zoo. Slipping under the fence, he tumbled into the exhibit below. Harambe, an icon at the zoo, took an interest in the boy and things took a terrible turn shortly after.
The Harambe Tragedy
In an effort to save the child unharmed, the zookeepers made the difficult decision to shoot and kill the gorilla. This led to a media firestorm and controversy that questioned if the zoo should be charged with animal cruelty and if the entire ordeal could have been avoided altogether. And while Harambe’s story dominated the media conversation, it’s actually not the first time a child has had a close encounter with a gorilla.
In fact, one child stared one of these large creatures in the face over 30 years ago, changing the way people viewed gorillas forever.
30 Years Ago
For Levan Merritt, the Harambe incident felt surreal and familiar because he too had a similar experience with a gorilla named Jambo. It was August 30, 1986, and at the young age of five, Merritt’s fun day at the zoo quickly turned into a scary ordeal.
You won’t believe what happened.