Cincinnati zoo gorilla killing: 'Justice for Harambe' petition signed by thousands

The petition calls for the boy's parents to be held accountible 'for not supervising their child'

Samuel Osborne
Tuesday 31 May 2016 07:15
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Petition over gorilla death

More than 280,000 people have signed a petition calling for "Justice for Harambe," the gorilla who zookeepers were forced to shoot and kill after a child fell into his enclosure.

The petition calls for the boy's parents to be held accountible "for not supervising their child," after the boy climbed through some barriers and fell into the 400lb gorilla's enclosure.

Officials at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens said they had no option but to shoot the 17-year-old western lowland gorilla. They said using a tranquiliser would not have knocked the ape out immediately and he may have hurt the child.

Harambe was a 17-year-old silverback western lowland gorilla

The death of the gorilla has outraged animal lovers and many have blamed the boy's parents for the incident.

The petition on Change.org states: "We the undersigned believe that the child would not have been able to enter the enclosure under proper parental supervision."

It goes on to say: "It is believed that the situation was caused by parental negligence and the zoo is not responsible for the child's injuries and possible trauma.

"We the undersigned want the parents to be held accountable for the lack of supervision and negligence that caused Harambe to lose his life."

Witnesses told local news broadcasters the child had said he wanted to join the gorillas, before crawling through a barrier and falling almost four metres into the enclosure.

The petition also says "We believe that this negligence may be reflective of the child's home situation" and calls for an "investigation of the child's home environment in the intersts of protecting the child and his siblings from further incidents of parental negligence that may result in serious bodily harm or even death".

On Sunday, Cincinnati police said the parents had not been charged, but charges could eventually be sought by the Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney.

The mother of the boy said that people were being quick to blame

In a Facebook post, the boy's mother asked others not to judge her because "accidents happen".

Defending herself against her critics, Michelle Gregg wrote: “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.”

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