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Gorilla shot at Cincinnati Zoo: Statements released

May 30, 2016

A three year old boy fell into a gorilla's habitat at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio and zoo officials reacted in killing a gorilla who did not try to harm or attack the boy in anyway.

Animal rights activists continued to protest Monday over the death of the gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo who was fatally shot so authorities could rescue the child.

The family of the 3-year-old released a statement Sunday night acknowledging the zoo's loss and thanking its staff for their "quick action." The boy was home safe and "doing just fine," the statement said.

The animal rights group PETA criticized the Cincinnati Zoo for not having a second protective barrier around the gorilla habitat, and argued that wild animals shouldn't be housed at zoos in the first place.

The incident triggered a statement by Canada's Accredited Zoos and Aquariums. The statement by Massimo Bergamin reads:

"We're saddened by this weekend's events at the Cincinnati Zoo. Our thoughts are with the Zoo staff and community. We know that today they are dealing with a terrible loss, but they should take solace knowing that they did absolutely the right thing in the circumstances. Their professionalism likely saved the life of a young child.

While these kinds of incidents generate a lot of attention thankfully they are, when measured against the number of visitors in accredited zoos in Canada and the US, very rare and isolated occurrences.

For Canada's accredited zoo and aquarium community they are a reminder of how quickly accidents can happen and of the importance of sound, tested safety protocols and emergency procedures.

As part of our accreditation inspection process, CAZA member institutions have to demonstrate that they have in place proper and formal risk management and safety protocols.

In addition to having policies and procedures in place, this involves holding regular emergency simulation exercises to ensure that in the event of an incident, trained Emergency Response Personnel are mobilized, know exactly what to do, and have the necessary equipment on hand as well as the authority to act.

And while these incidents are rare, we take them very seriously. Much like the global airline sector, we look to incidents as teachable moments that help us ensure that our systems and procedures improve continuously.

CAZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are required to conduct an incident analysis in the event of major occurrences involving injuries to staff or visitors as well as animal fatalities, and to report back to the National Office.

CAZA reviews the incident report, examines whether the incident was the result of systemic problems and follows up with the institution as necessary. Any findings of a systemic and general nature may be addressed through revisions to the accreditation standards."

A Memorial statue was put up outside the Cincinnati Zoo after Gorilla Harambe was shot and killed there Saturday.

Gorilla shot at Cincinnati Zoo: Statements released

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