Haramber the gorilla became the 'Meme of 2016'

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gorilla-harambe.jpgHis was the face which launched a thousand memes - so why did Harambe the gorilla capture 2016's collective online psyche?

It was a sad story that could have been even sadder. In May, a three-year-old child fell into an enclosure at Cincinnati Zoo. One of the Western lowland gorillas inside started dragging the boy around.

"Mommy's right here! Mommy loves you!" the boy's mother shouted, as bystanders became increasingly panicked.

Finally, fearing that the boy's life was in danger, a zoo worker killed Harambe with a single shot. The boy escaped without serious injury.

The events were captured on a YouTube video which has been watched millions of times.

Harambe's death touched off a heated - if predictable - debate about zoo welfare standards and whether lethal force was necessary.

But what wasn't expected was what came next. Harambe became memeified. His image was spread far and wide throughout the internet. He became the subject of serious and unserious campaigns. And he was even memorialised in song.