Cincinnati Zoo Urges the Internet to Stop Harambe Memes

Cincinnati Zoo has urged Harambe-loving internet users to stop making memes about the deceased gorilla, saying that they are “still healing” following his death earlier this year.

Harambe was shot dead by zoo workers at the end of May this year, after a three-year-old child had fallen into the gorilla enclosure. The ape’s death sparked a worldwide conversation about the actions of the zoo, with many suggesting that the gorilla should have been tranquilized rather than killed. The zoo released a statement following the shooting saying that doing so would have placed the child in more danger, with the zoo’s director Thane Maynard saying: “The child was being dragged around … His head was banging on concrete. This was not a gentle thing. The child was at risk.”

Now Maynard has spoken out against the online reaction to Harambe’s death, as memes and jokes about the gorilla continue to be circulated on the internet, saying: “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.”

Harambe memes have experienced a resurgence over the course of the past couple of months, with Brandon Wardell’s “dicks out for Harambe movement” being partially to blame for this. The comedian has since posted Vine videos from those uttering the now-famous “slogan,” featuring the likes of Danny Trejo pledging his support to their oddball campaign.


The Harambe memes haven’t shown any signs of slowing down thus far, so it’s unlikely that Cincinnati Zoo’s plea will spark a change. According to Google Trends, the search term ‘Harambe’ is becoming nearly as popular now as it was back in May, with its number of searches having grown exponentially since late July.

Image Credit: John Sommers II / Stringer / Getty Images