Views: 537 Posts: 0 Started By: CeeGeek Last Poster: CeeGeek Last Post Date: May 31, 2016
May 31, 2016 ( Post 1 )

The former caretaker of the 400-pound gorilla gunned down on Saturday after a toddler toppled into his pen at the Cincinnati Zoo won't condemn officials' decision to shoot the great ape, but said they are normally "gentle giants."

Jerry Stones raised Harambe since birth and said he's spent the past day in tears after finding the endangered Silverback had been killed by zoo officials a day after the gorilla's 17th birthday.

“An old man can cry, too,” Stones, 74, told the Daily News. “He was a special guy in my life. Harambe was my heart. It's like losing a member of the family.”

Stones, the director of Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Tex., looked after the beloved primate for a majority of Harambe's life, before he got transferred to the Cincinnati Zoo last year.

“I raised him from a baby, he was a sweet cute little guy,” Stones recalled. “He grew up to be a pretty, beautiful male. He was very intelligent. Very, very intelligent,” Stones reiterated. "His mind was going constantly. He was just such a sharp character."

Stones, who has worked in the zoo business for 50 years, bid adieu to Harambe in 2014, according to a Facebook post announcing the move.

“With a mixture of sad and happy feelings, we are preparing Harambe, one of our Silverback Western Lowland Gorillas, for the journey to his new home,” a post from the Gladys Porter Zoo’s Facebook page read.

On Saturday, however, Harambe met an early death after a 4-year-old boy fell over the perimeter to the Gorilla World exhibit and down 15 feet into his cage Saturday afternoon and was shot to save the child's life.

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