CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Approximately 50 people gathered at the Cincinnati Zoo to remember the 17-year-old gorilla shot and killed after a 3-year-old boy fell into the animal's enclosure Saturday.
Harambe, a 400 pound, male Western Lowland Gorilla, was shot dead after dragging a child who crawled through a barrier and fell about 15-feet into the exhibit's moat, Zoo Director Thane Maynard said.
The incident also sparked controversy with animal rights activists against the zoo.
PETA Primatologist Julia Gallucci issued the following statement in response to the killing of Harambe.
Fire officials at the scene witnessed the gorilla "violently dragging and throwing the child," according to a release from Cincinnati Fire Department.
"The reason the tranquilizing was not chosen is that in an agitated situation, which the male was, it may take quite a while for a tranquilizer to take effect," said Maynard.
Maynard claimed the boy was never under attack, but that his safety was at risk. He said shooting the animal was the right decision.
Visitors placed flowers and cards by a gorilla statue at the animal's exhibit immediately after news broke of the death of Harambe.
A Facebook group called "Justice for Harambe" was created hours after his death and has close to 40,000 likes.
Activists banned together in support of Harambe by creating a petition to pass 'Harambe's Law.'
The petition states the law would give legal consequences when an endangered animal is harmed or killed due to the negligence of visitors.
As of Monday morning, the petition had 30,049 supporters.
Gorilla World at the zoo will be closed until further notice. This was the first breach of the exhibit, the zoo announced.