Thousands are signing a petition that aims to hold the parents of the 4-year-old boy who fell into the Cincinnati Zoo enclosure accountable for the death of Harambe, the gorilla who was shot and killed as a result. The “Justice for Harambe” petition directly calls for “the parents to be held accountable for the lack of supervision and negligence that caused Harambe to lose his life” and has already garnered more than 157,000 signatures.
Public outrage over Harambe’s death is pouring across social media. A Facebook page in Harambe’s memory outlines a second petition calling for a new law that would hold any person “causing harm and or death of an animal at a zoo, sanctuary or wild animal park…criminally and financially responsible.”
People are also inundating the zoo’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and accusing the child’s parents of negligence. “That child’s parents should be responsible for the financial loss of that Gorilla. And any associated costs seeing that they couldn’t adequately supervise their own child and now a magical animal lost his life because of their error,” one Facebook user commented.
Charlamagne Tha God, Questlove, Holly Robinson Peete, and more have taken to social media to voice their sadness in the situation. “I just don’t see how your kid ends up in a gorilla pit,” Charlamagne tweeted. “I come from one of those if the kids being too quiet something wrong families.”
Michelle Gregg, who identified herself as the boy’s mother, thanked the zoo staff for their help in a post that has since been deleted. “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,” she wrote, per a screen grab of her original post. “Accidents happen but I am thankful that the right people were in the right place today.”
The zoo’s director, Thane Maynard, noted Harambe would not leave the exhibit when the zoo employees tried to evacuate all of the gorillas. “Our first response was to call the gorillas out of the exhibit. The two females complied, but Harambe did not,” Maynard said in a statement on Sunday. Maynard defended the zoo’s actions, but many are still placing the blame on the child’s parents.
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