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Corwin: Cincinnati Zoo Was In 'No-Win Situation' When Boy Fell Into Gorilla Enclosure

BOSTON (CBS) - As the director of the Cincinnati Zoo defended the decision to kill a gorilla after a three-year-old boy tumbled into its enclosure over the weekend, several wildlife experts weighed in, including local conservationist and television host, Jeff Corwin.

"It breaks my heart," Corwin said. "I think they found themselves in a no-win situation."

Corwin knows the zoo staff and has even met the lowland gorilla, Harambe, before. He believes there was no other option.

"It ended tragically, but it's hard for me to imagine another way it could have ended," said Corwin.

Jeff Corwin
Jeff Corwin (WBZ-TV)

Watching the video, Corwin says the critically endangered animal was clearly under a great deal of stress.

"No one knows how that moment was going to escalate. This animal is eight times stronger than an adult human being. Dozens of times stronger than this little child," said Corwin.

Tranquilizing the 17-year-old silverback wasn't an option.

"You're dealing with an incredibly tense situation," Corwin said. "If they successfully hit the gorilla, it could take 15 minutes."

A native of Norwood, Corwin spent his childhood visiting the Franklin Park Zoo. He is a proponent of America's zoos, especially in urban settings, and says this should serve as a lesson to us all.

"When you're there with your family, you have a responsibility for your children. The zoo is not your babysitter. Take a break from the selfie and the texting. They're wild animals," said Corwin.

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