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Police have confirmed that the parents of a four-year-old boy who climbed into a gorilla’s enclosure could face criminal charges, after zoo staff were forced to kill the tragic animal. Harambe the 400lb gorilla was shot and killed by Cincinnati Zoo officials just one day after his 17th birthday, after the toddler climbed through barriers and came face to face with the ginormous creature.
The incident, which was captured on cell phone footage, has since gone viral and made international headlines. The death of Harambe and has also sparked an outcry of emotion on social media, with thousands of mourners branding it a ‘senseless death’.
Many are placing the blame squarely on the boy’s parents, with many calling their actions ‘neglectful’. They are yet to be charged but authorities say prosecutors could choose to indict them. Michelle Gregg, the mother of the boy, posted a message on Facebook saying: ‘I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers today. What started off as a wonderful day turned into a scary one. For those of you that have seen the news or been on social media that was my son that fell in the gorilla exhibit at the zoo. God protected my child until the authorities were able to get to him.’
‘My son is safe and was able to walk away with a concussion and a few scrapes… no broken bones or internal injuries…’
The mother of the boy who fell into a gorilla enclosure has spoken out after public backlash over the decision to kill Harambe the gorilla in order to save her son.
Michelle Gregg wrote on Facebook: ‘As a society we are quick to judge how a parent could take their eyes off of their child and if anyone knows me I keep a tight watch on my kids. Accidents happen but I am thankful that the right people were in the right place today.’
The family also released a statement to the media saying they had taken their son home after he was rushed to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center with serious injuries. The statement read: ‘We are so thankful to the Lord that our child is safe. He is home and doing just fine. We extend our heartfelt thanks for the quick action by the Cincinnati Zoo staff. We know that this was a very difficult decision for them, and that they are grieving the loss of their gorilla. We hope that you will respect our privacy at this time.’
More than 80,000 people have already signed a Change.org petition calling for the boy’s parents to be ‘held accountable for their actions of not supervising their child’ – and blasting the zoo for putting Harambe down.