A 17-year-old gorilla named Harambe was shot and killed by zoo keepers over the weekend after a 4-year-old boy fell into the gorilla’s exhibit.
According to reports, the boy was with a group of children and his mom who was tending to a group right before falling into the exhibit. A witness claims the boy kept asking his mom to “get into the water” before he fell in.
The boy was dragged by the gorilla in the exhibit, but only suffered a concussion and some cuts. Now the zoo is defending their actions to kill the gorilla and the mother is speaking up about the accident.
The zoo is being scrutinized for fatally shooting the sliverback instead of using a tranquilizer. Zoo officials said that if they attempted to tranquilize Harambre, it would take several minutes for it to kick in and they risk the chance of making the gorilla upset.
The mother of the boy posted a status in a now-deleted Facebook status:
“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.”
Many are calling for the mother to be help responsible for the gorilla’s death, especially since the species is endangered. The zoo has no plans to press charges.