Celebrities express outrage over killing of Harambe the Gorilla

Vigil held for gorilla shot and killed at zoo
Vigil held for gorilla shot and killed at zoo

Numerous celebrities have spoken out after a 17-year-old western lowland gorilla named Harambe was fatally shot Saturday to protect a child who fell into the animal's Cincinnati Zoo enclosure.

The killing has sparked a debate around the world as to who is to blame for gorilla's death.

"We are heartbroken about losing Harambe, but a child's life was in danger and a quick decision had to be made by our Dangerous Animal Response Team," Zoo director Thane Maynard said in a statement.

It appears two sides have formed, those who blame the parents for apparently not watching the child close enough, and those who blame the zoo for the area being at all accessible to patrons.

Below are celebrity reactions to the incident:

Below is the full statement from the Cincinnati Zoo on the death of the gorilla:

A 4-year-old boy climbed through a public barrier at Gorilla World at around 4pm today (May 28) at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and fell into the exhibit's moat. The two female gorillas in the exhibit were recalled immediately, but the third, a male, remained in the yard with the child. The Zoo's Dangerous Animal Response Team responded to the life-threatening situation and made the difficult decision to dispatch the gorilla (Harambe).

"The Zoo security team's quick response saved the child's life. We are all devastated that this tragic accident resulted in the death of a critically-endangered gorilla," said Zoo Director Thane Maynard. "This is a huge loss for the Zoo family and the gorilla population worldwide."

The child was alert when transported to Children's Hospital Medical Center. The hospital is not releasing details on his condition. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and little boy," said Maynard.

The Zoo will be open tomorrow, but Gorilla World will be closed until further notice.