The mother of the 3 year-old boy that climbed and fell into the gorilla exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo will not face any charges according to Ohio prosecutor Joseph Deters said Monday.
“By all accounts, this mother did not act in any way where she presented this child to some harm,” Deters said in a press conference. “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.”
On May 28, a three year-old boy managed to make his way into a gorilla enclosure while the mother was distracted and found himself in a 10 minute confrontation with a 450 pound gorilla named Harambe. Harambe pulled the boy around the moat and eventually was shot and killed by zoo personnel.
“This was a tragic accident and a terrible loss for the zoo of their beloved gorilla. However, the zoo did the right thing when they took immediate action to save the life of a young child. A gorilla is a wild animal and, by definition, dangerous and unpredictable,” Deters said. “It’s still an animal. It does not equate human life.”
A lot of criticism has come to the parents of the child asking for charges to be filed. A petition, titled “Justice For Harambe” has raised roughly 500,000 signatures.
“I am very sorry about the loss of this gorilla but nothing about this situation rises to the level of a criminal charge,” he said after discussing Ohio’s laws on child endangerment.
The Cincinnati Zoo’s World Gorilla exhibit reopened Tuesday with more extensive barriers in place. The zoo says it’s barriers have been raised 42 inches, rope netting was added to the bottom and wood beams were added to the top.