Kiwi wildlife photographer says gorillas 'not aggressive' ahead of exhibition
A Kiwi wildlife photographer hosting an exhibition in Auckland as spoken of his love of gorillas in the wild, following the shooting of a captive ape in the United States.
Harambe the gorilla was shot dead at Cincinnati Zoo after he grabbed a child that had fallen into his enclosure.
Award-winning London-based photographer David Lloyd has been directing wildlife safaris while shooting animals in their natural environments for six years.
His exhibition, "As long as there are animals", launches on Saturday, displaying black and white portraits of individual animals he's photographed in Kenya.
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"Each animal is it's own individual - just like we are," he said.
Lloyd said he hadn't known gorillas to be violent, and was certain Harambe would not have wanted to harm anyone.
The boy fell around three metres into a moat where the gorilla stood over him and then pulled him away.
Zoo believed the boy's life was in danger, and shot the ape dead.
"What I do know is they're not violent. I don't think it would ever have intentionally hurt a boy or a girl," Lloyd said.
"I'm aware of other incidents where the same thing has happened and the gorilla has looked after the person that fell in.
"It's too complicated - we don't know what happened. I don't want to say too much... But i'm pretty certain the gorilla would not have wanted to harm anything - they're not aggressive".
The killing of the captive animal has triggered outrage and questions about safety, but zoo officials say the decision to use lethal force was necessary.
More than 4000 people signed a Change.org petition that criticised the Cincinnati Police Department and the zoo for putting down the animal.
Lloyd didn't want to say if it was "wrong or right" to shoot Harambe.
"We're being sucked in by too many old King Kong movies, I think".
Lloyd's exhibition has been on display in London and will be showing in the east Auckland suburb of Howick from 5pm Saturday.