The Cincinnati Zoo Wants Harambe Memes To Go Away

Indecent exposure is a terrible way to mourn the dead gorilla.


[Photo: Reuters]

It’s been nearly three months since the fateful day a little boy climbed into the Cincinnati Zoo’s gorilla enclosure and forced zookeepers to take rash action. Sadly, they had to shoot the 400-pound silverback known as Harambe just a day after his 17th birthday. 

The internet’s meme-makers have no intention of letting the world forget about the beloved gorilla. Harambe’s untimely death has spawned so many digital condolences both sincere and silly that Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard has released a statement highlighting the zoo staff’s general disdain for Harambe memes. 

“We are not amused by the memes, petitions and signs about Harambe,” Thane told the Associated Press. “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.”

At face value, public awareness for Harambe doesn’t seem like such a terrible thing. How often do animals really make such a lasting impression on the web? We know Florida gators go where they shouldn’t, and leopards wreak havoc if they escape from their cages, but Harambe’s longevity has far surpassed other animal’s fame in the media.

Then again, between his guest appearance in the final scene of Fast Five and the “Dicks Out For Harambe” hashtag, it’s easy to see how the Cincinnati zoo might see all of the attention as inappropriate and disingenuous.

If all press is good press, then we should all be happy that the memory remains. Long live Harambe.