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Dangerous-animal squads in Zoos feel its a weighty responsibility

The people responsible for dangerous animals understand that they may require to eliminate the animals they have trained

By: AP | Cincinnati |
June 3, 2016 2:04:37 pm
Cincinnati news, Gorilla news, gorilla killed, Cincinnati zoo, Gorilla zoo, gorilla cincinnati zoo, zoo armguards, animal rights, gorilla animal rights, gorilla attack, us news, latest news, world news Thane Maynard, director of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, speaks during a news conference, Monday, May 30, 2016, in Cincinnati. A gorilla named Harambe was killed by a special zoo response team on Saturday after a
4-year-old boy slipped into an exhibit and it was concluded his life was in danger. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

When a 400-pound gorilla grabbed a 3-year-old boy at the Cincinnati Zoo, the sharpshooter who killed the ape wasn’t from the police.

Instead, the shooter was a specially trained zoo staffer, on one of the many dangerous-animal emergency squads at animal parks around the country.

Teams train at firing ranges, stash rifles and shotguns in strategic spots around the grounds and rank the most hazardous species in their care. Members train in elaborate drills for situations like what unfolded when the child fell into the Cincinnati gorilla’s enclosure Saturday.


It’s a weighty responsibility for people who work among animals they might one day have to kill. But team members say they understand the need to do it if a human life is endangered.

Zoos emphasize that killing an animal is a last resort.

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