Harambe’s Caretaker Speaks to KTSA

The Texas man who raised the gorilla who was shot and killed in Cincinnati has started a conservation fund.

“That money will go to a program in Africa that’s helping educate people in the area that they come from,” said Jerry Stones, Facilities Director at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville.

Stones told KTSA’s Trey Ware that he raised the gorilla from the time Harambe was less than a month old.

“We bottle-raised him and I’d take him home at night and he would sleep next to my head,” said Stones.

He says gorillas are very intelligent and inquisitive, but they haven’t been accurately portrayed on television and in movies.

“Now, when they come charging out of the bushes, beating their chests and screaming and hollering , it’ll make you wet your pants,” he said.

The 17-year-old gorilla that was transferred to the Cincinnati Zoo last year was shot and killed this past weekend after a 4-year-old boy fell into his enclosure.

At times, it seemed as though Harambe was protecting the child, but then  he grabbed him and dragged him through the water like a rag doll as spectators screamed.

Stones told Trey Ware he can only imagine what Harambe was thinking when the boy ended up in the enclosure.

“I’ve never been hurt, but that doesn’t mean it will not happen,” said Stones.

He refused to get in the middle of the controversy over whether Harambe should have been shot.

“I would just as soon stay out of that right now,” he said.

The boy was treated and released from a hospital and his mother reports he’s doing fine.

Michelle Gregg also is defending herself after the backlash on social media.

She posted on Facebook that she keeps a close watch on her children and accidents happen.

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