Last weekend, a gorilla named Harambe was shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo after a 3-year-old boy climbed a fence and fell into the gorilla’s enclosure. Many expressed their disgust on social media and demanded the child’s mother be charged with reckless endangerment for failing to monitor the boy.
But authorities say charges will not be brought against the mother.
“By all accounts, this mother did not act in any way where she presented this child to some harm,” said Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters. “She had three other kids with her and turned her back. … And if anyone doesn’t believe a 3-year-old can scamper off very quickly, they’ve never had kids.”￼The boy fell into the enclosure on May 28 with the 450-pound Harambe and was in there for nearly 10 minutes. A witness to the incident told CNN the boy’s mother was briefly distracted by her other children when the 3-year-old fell in. Harambe grabbed the boy and dragged him across a moat before being put down by zoo employees.
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In addition to wanting charges brought against the child’s mother, many said the gorilla should have been shot with a tranquilizer dart and temporarily paralyzed instead of being killed.
However, Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard has vehemently defended the zoo’s decision, saying that anybody criticizing the actions that were taken “doesn’t understand silverback gorillas.”
He said that when a gorilla is in an agitated state, it could take several minutes for a tranquilizer to take effect. With that in mind, there was no way the zoo could risk leaving the child in there with Harambe alive, Maynard said.
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