The Cincinnati Zoo is still mourning the loss of Harambe the gorilla, who was shot and killed after a young boy fell into his enclosure. It all happened about a week ago when the child was visiting the zoo with his mom, Michelle Gregg, and accidentally tumbled into Harambe’s habitat. Zoo officials didn’t want to take a chance or put the child’s life in danger, so they shot the gorilla dead and rescued the little boy.
The child was not hurt by the gorilla despite being dragged around the enclosure.
There has been a great deal of internet debate following this incident. Several animal rights activists and animal lovers were heartbroken to hear that Harambe had been shot dead and that the zoo decided against tranquilizing the gorilla. The Cincinnati Zoo has said that taking a chance on a tranquilizer could have put the child in additional danger as it wouldn’t have had an immediate effect on the animal.
Many people were quick to point fingers at the child’s mom, who many feel should have been paying attention to her son.
— People Magazine (@people) June 6, 2016
The Cincinnati Zoo has certainly heard its fair share of complaints since this all went down, and they aren’t the only ones. Several people had called for the mother of the child to be held accountable for her son’s actions and felt that she should have been charged with neglect, as she had taken her eyes off her son for an unknown amount of time.
— Heavy.com (@HeavySan) May 31, 2016
On Monday, June 6, TMZ reported that the case was closed in court after Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters announced that the child’s mother would not face criminal charges.
“Michelle Gregg was not negligent when her 3-year-old boy strayed at the Cincinnati Zoo. He pointed out she had 3 other children with her and based on surveillance cameras and witnesses… she was attentive. Deters said quite simply ‘kids can scamper off and they do.’ He added, if Gregg had been ‘in the bathroom smoking crack that would have been a different story, but that’s not what happened.’ Deters said, ‘There’s nothing that the mother could have done.'”
The Cincinnati Zoo has closed its gorilla exhibit following Harambe’s death. Joe Deters commented on the situation directly, saying that it was tragic but that the protection of human life was of greater importance.
“It’s still an animal. It does not equate to human life,” he said.
According to ABC News, the family of the young boy released a statement following today’s news.
“[We are] very pleased with this decision. This is one more step in allowing us to put this tragic episode behind us and return to our normal family life. We extend thanks to all of those who have been praying for us and who have supported us through this trying ordeal.”
Do you think Michelle Gregg should be facing criminal charges following the death of Harambe the gorilla? Do you think that the Cincinnati Zoo made the right decision to shoot the gorilla given the circumstances? Sound off in the comments below.
[Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images]