3 Years Later: Remembering the death of Harambe

Published: May. 28, 2019 at 12:35 PM EDT
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Harambe, the Cincinnati Zoo gorilla shot and killed after a 3-year-old boy got into his enclosure, has taken on life after his death three years ago.

On May 28, 2016, a special zoo response team shot and killed the 17-year-old gorilla that grabbed and dragged a small boy who fell into a moat.

The dangerous animal response team decided the boy was in "a life-threatening situation" and that they needed to put down the 400-pound-plus male gorilla.

The boy's mother did not face any criminal charges, as prosecutors say it appeared he "just scampered off."

Harambe became a social media sensation in the months following his death, as there were calls to rename the Cincinnati Bengals in his honor and add his face to Mount Rushmore. He showed up on many presidential ballots during the 2016 election.

The Harambe phenomenon is fed by genuine sadness over his May 28 death, continued controversy over the circumstances that led to it, and the penchant of many social media users for satire.

The zoo would add another gorilla named Mshindi from the Louisville Zoo in September 2017.

Harambe would once again become a national trend on Twitter on the third anniversary.