A gorilla that was killed at the Cincinnati Zoo after a 3-year-old boy fell into the ape's enclosure was the son of the first gorilla born at Zoo Miami.
Harambe, a Western lowland silverback gorilla, was the son of Moja, who was born at the zoo in 1984, Zoo Miami's Ron Magill said Monday. Harambe is also the grandson of Josephine, a 49-year-old silverback who still lives at Zoo Miami.
"The relationship to us is that we actually are the owners of Harambe. Harambe was on loan to the Cincinnati Zoo," Magill told NBC 6. "Though Harambe was never here at Zoo Miami, his grandmother over my shoulder there, Josephine, Josephine gave birth to Moja who was the very first gorilla born at the zoo here on this exhibit and Moja was Harambe's father."
Harambe was shot dead Saturday at the Cincinnati Zoo after the boy fell about 10 feet into the Gorilla World exhibit. A visitor who recorded the incident said the ape appeared to be protecting the child before being shot, NBC News reported. The boy was rescued and taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
"He didn't understand his own strength either. If you look at that video you see the way he drags that kid through the water, just missing slamming him against the wall. It would have taken one second for that boy to be killed," Magill said.
Zoo officials said the 400-pound Harambe was 17 years old.
While many have expressed outrage at the gorilla's killing, Magill said it was necessary.
"It was absolutely the right decision. It was a horrible decision. It's a no-win situation but there's no question it was the correct decision," he said, adding that a tranquilizer wouldn't have been effective. "A dart hits him, he gets further aggravated and that child will be the recipient of of what we call displaced aggression."