“That’s important for our long-term breeding program and gorilla conservation,” Maynard said.
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Harambe was killed one day after his 17th birthday, meaning he’d not yet reached breeding maturity. The Cincinnati Zoo is a key player in gorilla breeding and conservation, and Maynard said reproductive biologists had collected viable sperm from Harambe to help his endangered species in its genetic diversity.
“It’s not the end of his gene pool,” he said. “In addition, he and his lineage are part of an ongoing breeding program.”
Maynard said the zoo had received messages of support and condolences from around the world, including from other zoo directors and gorilla experts.
A spokesman for Jane Goodall, the famed primatologist, said she had “a private conversation” with Maynard, who said she expressed her sympathy.
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The Associated Press and WCPO 9 On Your Side contributed to this report.