'Accidents Happen,' Says Mother Of Child Who Fell Into Gorilla Moat

The mother of a child who fell into a gorilla's enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo is the subject of massive worldwide outrage.

The child, a 3-year-old boy named Isaiah, tumbled into the moat surrounding the gorilla's enclosure on Saturday, after telling his mother he wanted to get in the water, witnesses said.

The boy was approached by a 17-year-old male silverback gorilla named Harambe. The animal stood over the boy, and then apparently became excited by the screaming of onlookers and began dragging him through the water.

Two female gorillas that were also in the enclosure responded to calls by zookeepers to come inside, but Harambe did not respond to the calls, choosing instead to remain with the boy.

After about ten minutes of attempting to get the gorilla away from the child, the decision was made to shoot and kill Harambe.

The death of the gorilla caused grief and rage on a worldwide scale. Many critics lashed out at the mother of the child, who can be heard on a video yelling to him, "I love you! I'm right here!"

The onslaught included a petition for charges to be brought against the boy's mother for allowing her child to fall into the gorilla's enclosure, according to the Mirror.

The boy's mother, Michelle Gregg, responded to the criticism on Monday.

"My son is safe and was able to walk away with a concussion and a few scrapes... no broken bones or internal injuries.

"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."

A second petition, called "Harambe's Law," calls for "legal consequences when an endangered animal is harmed or killed due to the negligence of visitors." This petition to state senator Cecil Thomas was initiated on Sunday, and is closing in on 50,000 signatures.

The letter points out that it is not the first incident of its type.

"This is not the first time that this has happened in the gorilla world, it happened on August 31, 1986 at the Durrell Wildlife Park and again on August 16, 1996 at the Brookfield Zoo. In these two cases the gorillas were not killed and both of the children were rescued. It is too late to save Harambe, but we can protect not only the people that come to see these animals, but need to protect the animals themselves."
A mother, Brittany Nicely, saw the child going through the fence and tried to grab him, but she couldn't get to him in time.Michelle Gregg has been the target of rage on Twitter as well as other social media sites.

"An endangered animal should not have had to pay with its life because of a lack of supervision." - @mitcheglar23

"PLEASE morning shows, don't put these idiot parents on your programs. The gorilla is dead. NO ONE wants to hear from them." - @MichelleDBeadle

"Parents of the kid at #CincinnatiZoo need to be charged with Child Neglect & Endangerment! This is THEIR FAULT!!!" -@flashzonephoto

Police said the boy's parents could be indicted by prosecutors. According to Metro, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

[Image via Andreas R/Shutterstock]