Society

Family Of Boy Who Fell Into Gorilla Pen Thanks Zoo

| by Michael Doherty
A gorilla at the San Francisco Zoo.A gorilla at the San Francisco Zoo.

The family of a young boy who fell into the Cincinnati Zoo gorilla enclosure, leading to the death of a silverback gorilla, said their boy is "doing well" and thanked zookeepers for saving the child.

The 17-year-old silverback gorilla, Harambe, was fatally shot by zookeepers on May 28 after the 3-year-old boy fell 15 feet into the animal's enclosure. The 450-pound gorilla was said to be acting "erratically" toward the boy, according to ABC News.

"Our child has had a checkup by his doctor and is still doing well," the child's family said in a statement. "We continue to praise God for His grace and mercy, and to be thankful to the Cincinnati Zoo for their actions taken to protect our child."

Harambe, who was transferred to the Cincinnati Zoo two years ago, was nicknamed "handsome Harambe" because of his handsome features.

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"I could go in the cage with him and he would not attack me, but he might accidentally kill me just by playing," caretaker Jerry Stones told Cincinnati.com about Harambe, who was "six times stronger than a man," according to ABC.

Harambe's death has sparked outrage among animal rights activists, who have said the gorilla's life was taken too hastily. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums has said that it will be investigating Harambe's death.

The family has also come under fire, with an internet petition calling for the parents to be held responsible for the alleged negligence that led to the gorilla's death gaining hundreds of thousands of signatures, Vox notes. The Cincinnati Police Department will also be looking into possible criminal charges against the young boy's parents, ABC reports.

The boy's mother said in a now-deleted Facebook post that taking her eyes off of her son was a mistake, according to Vox. When speaking to ABC this week, the family said they were grateful for those who reached out to support them after the incident and recommended that any gifts be given to the zoo.

"We are also very appreciative for the expressions of concern and support that have been sent to us," the family said in a statement. "Some have offered money to the family, which we do not want and will not accept. If anyone wishes to make a gift, we recommend a donation to the Cincinnati Zoo in Harambe’s name."

Source: ABC News, Vox, Cincinnati.com / Photo Credit: angela n./Flickr

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