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Harambe, the Endangered Cincinnati Gorilla Was Just Protecting the Boy? Watch Latest Footage Captured at Scene

May 31, 2016 03:41 AM EDT

Zoo biologists have found out over the years that gorillas have some of the strongest maternal instincts in the animal kingdom. A recent footage captured at the Cincinatti zoo, raised a debate whether Harambe, the 400-pound silverback was merely protecting the boy who fell into his moat and not trying to hurt him.

On Monday, Harambe was fatally shot after a four-year-old boy slipped into his moat. The authorities said they did not have a choice so they pulled the trigger.

Having said that, witnesses who were in the scene said the boy was not in danger. In fact, Harambe was protecting the child.

The new footage, captured on a cell phone camera by onlookers shows the western lowland gorilla standing guard over the boy in the corner of the moat. At one part, the two even shared a brief moment holding hands.

The authorities believe the child crawled past the railing and fell 10 feet into the gorilla's habitat.

Cincinnati's WLWT5 was able to talk to a witness named Kim O'Connor.

Narrating the incident O'Connor said the gorilla must have been stressed because of the people screaming and panicking, prompting him to drag the boy further away from the crowd.

"I don't know is screaming did it or too many people hanging on the edge and he though we're coming in, but then he pulled away the boy down further from the big group," she told the news site.

Meanwhile, Jerry Stones who raised Harambe since birth was heartbroken of the incident.

"He was a special guy in my life. Harambe was my heart. It's like losing a member of the family," he told Mirror.UK

Stones describes Harambe as a gentle giant and a sweet cute little pie.

Craig Saffoe, a well-known biologist and curator if the Great Cats and Bears units at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in an interview with Megan Gambino of said gorillas are the best mothers.

"I've watched a gorilla nurture her young, and I don't know if it's just so close to home with primates, but if I had to pick a best mom, I think that the gorilla is a great mom," he told the website.

Animal lovers and conservationist groups are outraged after the endangered animal had to be shot dead by zoo staff to protect the boy.

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