REUTERS

Harambe's Former Zookeeper Talks About Beloved Gorilla Who Was Killed

The zookeeper who helped raise Harambe, the 17-year-old silverback gorilla who was fatally shot over the weekend, spoke out on Tuesday about his devastation surrounding the shocking death.

Jerry Stones, who is the facilities director for the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, where Harambe was born, remembers when the gorilla's grandparents first arrived in the US. From the moment Harambe was born, Stones says,

We hand-raised him. I took him home at night with me. You know, you get up at midnight and change the diaper, just like you would a human baby.

In an interview with ABC News, Stones went on to explain how attached he grew to Harambe, saying,

I raised I don't know how many baby gorillas, but he was memorable because he was so intelligent. He showed a positive attitude as far as leadership. He nurtured his siblings, he would carry them around... It's like losing a family member, it tore me up. I was very close to him. His whole life, I was with him.

Watch the video above to see the entire heartbreaking interview.

Citations: 'It's like losing a family member': Zookeeper who hand-raised Harambe from birth and would take him home at night like his own child devastated by the gorilla's death (Daily Mail)