ARLINGTON, Va. — The Jane Goodall Institute has released an email sent by the primatologist and conservationist to the director of the Cincinnati Zoo expressing empathy with him over the weekend shooting of a gorilla in an effort to protect a small child who entered the primate’s habitat.

In the message to zoo director Thane Maynard dated Sunday, May 29, the day after the shooting, Goodall writes that she feels sorry for Maynard having to defend a shooting that he “may disapprove of.” Goodall says it looked like the gorilla was putting an arm around the child and calls it “a devastating loss.”

Goodall also asks about the reaction of the other gorillas and whether they were allowed to express grief.

Goodall is known for her decades of studying wild chimpanzees in Tanzania.

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