Harambe’s sperm collected after his death will ensure his bloodline continues, not just his memes

After being tragically shot in 2016, the Cincinnati Zoo gorilla transcended to become a meme-legend, the internet’s gorilla

Harambe’s sperm collected after his death will ensure his bloodline continues, not just his memes
Flowers lay around a bronze statue of a gorilla and her baby outside the Cincinnati Zoo's Gorilla World exhibit after a 3-year-old boy fell into the moat and officials were forced to kill Harambe (John Sommers II/Getty Images)
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CINCINNATI, OHIO: While Harambe, the silverback gorilla's legacy dominated the meme culture of recent years, his literal legacy will also carry on, thanks to Cincinnati Zoo officials taking his sperm after his controversial death in 2016. The critically endangered western lowland gorilla had to be shot dead after a three-year-old boy fell inside his enclosure.

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Zoo officials made the difficult decision to ensure the safety of the toddler after he was grabbed and dragged around by Harambe. Harambe's death caused a whole lot of stir, with debates on whether the shooting was necessary or not. From debates among primatologists and conservationists to memes of 'D***s out for Harambe', he has certainly not been forgotten.

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A statue of Harambe is seen on October 18, 2021 in New York City. The Sapien.Network, a social networking platform currently under development, unveiled a seven-foot statue of Harambe,  a gorilla from the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden who became a media sensation in May 2016 who was shot by zookeepers to protect a child, in front of the Charging Bull statue that was surrounded by bananas, that would be distributed to local food shelves, to protest wealth disparity in the country. The group states that the statue of Harambe
A statue of Harambe was unveiled by The Sapien.Network in front of the Charging Bull statue. The group states that the statue "represents the millions of everyday people who struggle under a system that enriches wealthy elites and leaves the average person behind"(Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Now, in a piece of relatively positive news, Lad Bible reports that Harambe's bloodline did not perish with him. After his death, his sperm was collected and taken so that it may be put to use in the future, even though the 17-year-old gorilla had not reached breeding maturity at the time of his death. Nevertheless, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens director Thane Maynard had expressed his hope for the next generation, saying, "There’s a future. It’s not the end of his gene pool."

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Named after the 1988 song 'Harambe (Working Together for Freedom)' by Rita Marley, the young silverback gorilla has a chance to produce offspring even after his death. According to reports, Cincinnati Zoo boasts a highly successful breeding program, chiefly for apes and monkeys. Under this, the zoo has seen over 50 successful births over a period of more than 50 years. In fact, Harambe had been brought into the zoo as part of the breeding program. 

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A critically endangered subspecies of the western gorilla, Harambe was a western lowland gorilla born in 1999 at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas. At the age of 16, he was transferred to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden and was placed in a social group with two 19-year-old females, 'Chewie' and 'Mara', according to a news release by the zoo. At the time, he was described by Ron Evans, Curator of Primates at the Cincinnati Zoo, as "a young silverback learning his role as a future leader," demonstrating "intelligence and curiosity, using sticks and things to reach for items outside his grasp."

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While the future planned out for him certainly did not come to pass, it is certain his legacy will live on - whether through memes as an internet sensation or through the children that may be born. 


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