The Cincinnati Zoo Is ‘Not Amused’ By All The Harambe Jokes On Social Media

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UPDATE, August 23, 1:01 P.M. ET: At some point on Monday evening, the Cincinnati Zoo deactivated their Twitter account.

The zoo offered reporters little by way of comment over the decision, but Twitter users noticed very quickly (below):

Furthermore, the Zoo Director Thane Maynard‘s Twitter account was hacked last night as well, according to reports.

Obviously, quite a tough time for the zoo on social media.

Though he may forever be remembered as a gorilla taken too soon in a tragic situation, Harambe has lived on… and on… and on… in Internet memes!

And now, the Cincinnati Zoo is NOT happy about it!

Related: Celebs React To Harambe’s Death

The late 17-year-old primate, killed back in May when a young boy crawled into his cage and zookeepers were forced to shoot the gorilla to protect the child, has turned into a social media phenomenon after his death.

Memes, photoshopped pictures, and all kinds of hashtag references have buoyed his memory, both satirically and sincerely.

But Thane Maynard, the director of the Cincinnati Zoo, is absolutely fed up with the references, telling reporters via email (below):

“We are not amused by the memes, petitions and signs about Harambe. Our zoo family is still healing, and the constant mention of Harambe makes moving forward more difficult for us. We are honoring Harambe by redoubling our gorilla conservation efforts and encouraging others to join us.”

In part, that makes a LOT of sense — especially as you consider the job that poor zoo’s social media team must do every day to combat the tweets (below):


Then again, just look at some of the memes, and you begin to understand (below):


What started as a good-natured set of petitions to hold the mom in the situation accountable has quickly turned into, well, more — as WCPO-TV web editor James Leggate did when he declared that all Harambe-related petitions should end:

“At first, the petitioners had good intentions. But then the goofuses of the Internet hopped on the Harambe train for their jollies, and it has gotten out of control.”

All that being sad, PETA‘s associate director, Ashley Byrne, believes that memes or not, discussion of Harambe has moved the conversation along for animal-rights activists (below):

“This tragic incident really did start a new conversation. Most people who saw the video came away with a great degree of empathy for animals forced to live in captivity.”

That’s one way to look at it, we guess.

The Internet is ultimately going to do what it does, in a case like this, but at least we hope Harambe’s story will keep future children and animals safe.

[Image via Cincinnati Zoo.]

Aug 22, 2016 2:11pm PDT

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