The parents (Deonne Dickerson and Michelle Gregg) of the 4-year-old boy who wound up in a gorilla exhibit that resulted in the endangered animal being shot to death, are catching hell over the incident in spite of Cincinnati Zoo officials insisting that they did the right thing. But new footage of Harambe, the 17-year-old gorilla, shows that he may have been protecting rather than threatening the child. (scroll down to watch.)
Many on social media have criticized Dickerson and Gregg, saying they should be held accountable. However, a Cincinnati police spokesman told the Daily Mail no charges were being considered. Also, a spokeswoman for the family said on Monday they had no plans to comment other than what’s already been posted on Facebook by the mother.
“I do think there’s a degree of responsibility they have to be held to,” said Kate Villanueva, a mother of two children from Erlanger, Kentucky, who started the “Justice for Harambe” page and attended a vigil on Monday at Cincinnati Zoo for the deceased primate.
“You have to be watching your children at all times,” she added.
Meanwhile, more angry animal lovers took to social media declaring the western lowland gorilla’s life was unnecessarily taken, and more than 4,000 have already joined “Justice for Harambe,” reports the Daily Mail.
Ian Redmond, the chairman of the Gorilla Organization, told CNN : “When gorilla or other apes have things they shouldn’t have, keepers will negotiate with them, bring food, their favorite treats, pineapple or some kind of fruit that they don’t know and negotiate with them.”
Here’s what primatologist Julia Gallucci had to say: “The gorilla enclosure should have been surrounded by a secondary barrier between the humans and the animals to prevent exactly this type of incident.”
Others are simply placing the blame squarely on the boy’s parents.
More than 115,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling for the mother and father to be “held accountable for their actions of not supervising their child.”
One Twitter user wrote: “So a beautiful, innocent gorilla has to die because neglectful parents can’t control their kids? Mankind sucks
Another user Chris Dasauchoit tweeted: “Beautiful animals sadly paying for utter human stupidity and negligence with their lives. #Harambe #CincinnatiZoo.”
After the incident, the boy’s mother, Michelle Gregg, posted this message to her Facebook account:
“I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers today. What started off as a wonderful day turned into a scary one.
“For those of you that have seen the news or been on social media that was my son that fell in the gorilla exhibit at the zoo. God protected my child until the authorities were able to get to him.
“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.”
On Sunday, the family also released a statement saying they had taken their son home from the hospital.
“We are so thankful to the Lord that our child is safe. He is home and doing just fine. We extend our heartfelt thanks for the quick action by the Cincinnati Zoo staff. We know that this was a very difficult decision for them, and that they are grieving the loss of their gorilla. We hope that you will respect our privacy at this time.”
(Photo Source: Facebook)