CINCINNATI, Ohio — Harambe, the Ohio zoo gorilla shot and killed after a 3-year-old boy got into his enclosure, has taken on life after death.
The late 17-year-old great ape has shown up in tongue-in-cheek petitions to rename the hometown Cincinnati Bengals, to add his face to Mount Rushmore or the Lincoln Memorial, and to put him on the dollar bill. He has grown the angel wings and halo of a deity in social media memorials.
He’s even been mock-nominated for president.
The Harambe phenomenon is fed by genuine sadness over his May 28 death, continued controversy over the circumstances that led to it, and the penchant of many social media users for satire.
In an email to the AP, Cincinnati Zoo director, Thane Maynard, said, “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.”