“Ayo, come back here,” his mother summoned.
“Mummy, mummy, what is that?” Ayo asked, pointing to the far right.
Ayo was taken by a bird in an iron net enclosure. Ayo and his mum were at the University of Ibadan Zoological Garden. The zoo had all sorts of fascinating animals, and four-year-old Ayo was getting fond of seeing them almost every weekend.
“Ayo, I told you last week now, it’s a peacock. Say ‘peacock’.”
His mother turned her attention back to what she was watching. In front of her was the gorilla moat; a 10 feet deep enclosure. There were other onlookers around. They were all there for Harambe, the largest gorilla in the moat. The zoo visitors threw all sorts of fruits into the enclosure for Harambe and other gorillas. It was Harambe’s seventeenth birthday, and the zoo was packed. They all loved Harambe as he had been around for quite a while. Ayo’s mother held a bunch of bananas for the popular Harambe. She loved his silver-black fur.
“Mummy, mummy, I want to throw,” Ayo said.
His mother split the bunch into two and gave him one half. Ayo threw his half over the iron railing and into the moat.
“Ayo, not like that, throw it one by one,” his mother said.
Ayo watched as Harambe lurched at the bananas. He chuckled. Ayo’s mum started conversing with a fellow mother beside her about how the zoo should take better care of the animals. She was still talking when all of a sudden she noticed everyone’s attention shift. She looked around in haste to see what it was they were taken by. She was agape when she saw what distracted them. Four-year-old Ayo had found a large enough opening in the railing and had gotten through while lingering for support. Everyone was gesturing for him to come back.
“Ayo!” His mother screamed, “Come back here!”
He started crying, and in confusion he let go of the railing and fell 10 feet down into the enclosure. As soon as Ayo reached the ground, Harambe left his fruits and ran fast towards Ayo. The watching crowd amassed as more people gathered above, screaming and murmuring in shock. Some of them had already started videoing the incident.
“Ayo!” his mother screamed repeatedly as she burst into tears.
Harambe had already grabbed Ayo’s trousers and was dragging him around haphazardly. The zoo’s response team arrived and parted the crowd to assess the situation.
The whole crowd went silent. Harambe had been shot. The rare and endangered gorilla was dead.