Ohio zoo Twitter account gone amid Harambe comments

Associated Press

Cincinnati — The Twitter accounts of an Ohio zoo targeted by online critics and trolls over the shooting of a gorilla have been taken down.

The Cincinnati Zoo has said it’s not amused by the memes, online petitions and signs about Harambe, a 17-year-old great ape killed in May by a special zoo response team after a 3-year-old boy got into his enclosure. Harambe has been mourned, memorialized and satirized nearly continuously since his death.

Those seeking the Twitter sites Tuesday of the zoo or its director, Thane Maynard, got messages saying, “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!”

A zoo spokeswoman confirmed without comment Tuesday that it has deactivated its accounts.

Maynard recently told The Associated Press by email that the zoo family is “still healing.”

“We are honoring Harambe by redoubling our gorilla conservation efforts and encouraging others to join us,” he wrote.

The zoo reopened its gorilla exhibit in June with a higher, reinforced barrier. The county prosecutor concluded no charges were warranted after the boy scampered off from his mother, got though some bushes and fell about 15 feet into a shallow moat. The special response team shot the agitated gorilla to protect the boy, who was treated for scrapes.

Animal rights activists and other critics said the shooting could have been avoided.

The zoo’s actions are still under review by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.