Video of the scary situation has since surfaced on the internet, showing the endangered animal dragging the toddler through the habitat as he ran around, but other shots portrayed the primate behaving protectively towards the youngster.
And even famed primatologist Jane Goodall noticed that Harambe didn't seem to be acting violently.
On Monday, the Jane Goodall Institue released an email that the 82-year-old sent to Cincinnati Zoo's director Thane Maynard on Sunday, and the UK native revealed that she doesn't believe the gorilla had any intention of harming the toddler, writing:
"I tried to see exactly what was happening — it looked like the gorilla was putting an arm around the child — like the female who rescued and returned the child from the Chicago exhibit."
And while this seems to suggest that Miz Goodall might have thought the zoo could have taken a different course of action, she did open the note by apparently defending Thane, penning:
"I feel so sorry for you, having to try to defend something which you may well disapprove of."