LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Harambe, a 17-year-old gorilla, was shot and killed on Saturday at the Cincinnati Zoo after dragging and throwing a child.

Zoo officials say the three-year-old boy crawled under a barrier and through fencing to get into the gorilla enclosure.

They say the child was never under attack, but that his life was in danger.

PETA has released the following statement after the incident:

"Yet again, captivity has taken an animal’s life. The gorilla enclosure should have been surrounded by a secondary barrier between the humans and the animals to prevent exactly this type of incident. Gorillas have shown that they can be protective of smaller living beings and react the same way any human would to a child in danger. Consider Binti Jua, the gorilla who carried a child to a zookeeper’s gate. Even under the “best” circumstances, captivity is never acceptable for gorillas or other primates, and in cases like this, it’s even deadly. This tragedy is exactly why PETA urges families to stay away from any facility that displays animals as sideshows for humans to gawk at," said PETA Primatologist, Julia Gallucci.

Thane Maynard, Cincinnati Zoo director, said the animal couldn't be tranquilized because it was in an agitated situation, and tranquilizers take a while to take effect.

The boy was taken to a local children's hospital with what authorities say are serious, but not life-threatening injuries. 

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