The 911 call made by “gorilla mom,” Michelle Gregg, as she watched Harambe the gorilla wade towards 3-year-old Isaiah Dickerson, has now been released online.
As the operator responds to the call, asking what the emergency is, Gregg can be heard almost screaming in panic as she watched Harambe heading towards her young son.
The 3-year-old boy had climbed through the railings and had fallen into the moat in the endangered gorilla’s enclosure at Cincinnati Zoo. Video of the incident had shown 17-year-old Harambe dragging young Isaiah around the enclosure, an action which led to zoo staff shooting the gorilla dead.
Gregg responds to the operator, saying, “My son fell in the zoo exhibit at the gorillas.”
“There’s a male gorilla standing over him. I need someone to contact the zoo please.
“He’s dragging my son. I can’t watch this. I can’t watch.”
While the gorilla mom can be heard repeatedly telling her son to “be calm,” the operator asks several times how old her son is and attempts to reassure Gregg, telling her help is already on the way.
It turns out another witness to the incident had also made a 911 call to emergency services in an attempt to get help for the boy, saying, “There’s a baby in the zoo that fell in the gorilla moat.”
“Hurry! Hurry! The gorillas are out. Oh my God.”
After the incident, several other witnesses spoke up about the panic when Isaiah fell into the gorilla enclosure, where there were in total three gorillas present.
LISTEN Mum”s desperate 911 call after son, 3, falls into gorilla pen https://t.co/2gMMLH3mwf pic.twitter.com/oEEvgH6Yn7
— Report UK (@ReportUK) June 2, 2016
One witness, Deidre Lykins, was close to the family as they realized their son was no longer with them. She said, “I hear [the boy’s mother] calling in the background, ‘where’s my son, where’s my son!’ ”
Lykins went on to say the mother covered her face and began screaming, “that’s my baby, that’s my baby!”
“If you had seen the gorilla dragging this baby with his little precious face … just bouncing off the rocks, he just looked lifeless.”
Since the incident there has been a national and worldwide outcry over the endangered gorilla’s death with several Facebook groups set up, along with a demonstration outside the zoo and a petition condemning the killing of the animal, which has since been signed by more than 450,000 people.
As reported by the Daily Mail, among those condemning the shooting of Harambe, which occurred within 10 minutes of the boy falling into the enclosure, many spoke up claiming the gorilla’s actions were not life threatening and that he was, in fact, protecting the child.
Among those speaking up for the gorilla on social media was British comedian Ricky Gervais, who reckoned Harambe was doing a better job of looking after the boy than his parents.
It seems that some gorillas make better parents than some people.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) May 29, 2016
That tweet has received almost 12,000 likes on Twitter.
Among the online onslaught, Isaiah’s parents, Deonne Dickerson and Gregg, are being accused of bad parenting and there have been many calls for them to be charged with child neglect and for the death of the endangered silverback gorilla.
— Crystal Hefner Ⓥ (@crystalhefner) May 31, 2016
As reported by the Inquisitr, Jane Goodall, one of the world’s leading primatologists, emailed the director of the Cincinnati Zoo, Thomas Maynard, on Tuesday, telling him that Harambe was protecting and not harming the child that fell into the enclosure.
For her part, Gregg is defending herself by claiming that “accidents happen.”
“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.”
She added, “Accidents happen but I am thankful that the right people were in the right place today.”
However, the boy’s parents could still face charges over the incident.
A police statement said that “Consistent with the department policies, the Cincinnati Police Department Personal Crimes Unit is closely reviewing the facts and circumstances that led to a four-year-old boy falling into the Gorilla World enclosure.”
“This review is only regarding the actions of the parents / family that led up to the incident and not related to the operation or the safety of Cincinnati Zoo.”
In the meantime, another woman by the name of Michelle Gregg, living in Northwest Ohio, told Tucson News Now that she became a target of online abuse regarding the death of the gorilla at Cincinnati Zoo.
She said she received many messages from people believing her to be the mother of Isaiah.
“It is crazy that they typed in my name, saw that I was from Ohio, saw that I had a little boy, and assumed that I was her,” said Gregg.
Saying she became a target, the messages told her she deserved to die instead of the gorilla and someone said her child should have had his limbs taken off by the gorilla and that he should have been eaten alive.
The second Gregg contacted each person that had messaged her to tell them they had the wrong person and eventually changed her Facebook profile photo to stop the onslaught.
Now the messages have died down, Gregg says she cannot believe how people could verbally abuse her and the boy’s real mother like this.
“I know how she feels because I’m receiving a ton of email that’s directed towards her, and I’m sorry that everything is happening to her like this, and I know what a child is capable of in a blink of an eye,” said Gregg.