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The incident on Saturday has made news around the world. Facebook
Harambe the gorilla

Parents in zoo killing case say their son is "doing well" and they "praise God" for his safety

The parents are facing a possible police probe.

POLICE IN THE US have confirmed that they are investigating the parents of the three-year-old boy who fell into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo and had to be rescued by a team that shot the 180 kg animal dead

Authorities said the investigation will look at the parents’ actions leading up to the incident — not the operation of the zoo.

Police will then confer with prosecutors over whether charges should be filed.

The parents of the boy have since said that he has been checked by a doctor and is “still doing well”.

The family released a statement this morning through a representative saying that they continue to “praise God” and are thankful to the zoo for “their actions taken to protect our child.”

Zoo staffers shot and killed the endangered 17-year-old western lowland gorilla named Harambe on Saturday after concluding the boy’s life was in danger.

Thane Maynard Thane Maynard, director of the Cincinnati Zoo, has also been facing tough questions. John Minchillo / PA Images John Minchillo / PA Images / PA Images

The family expresses thanks to those expressing concern and support. It says some people have offered money and they recommend a donation to the Cincinnati Zoo in Harambe’s name.

Spokeswoman Gail Myers says they have no comment on a Cincinnati police investigation into their actions.

The incident has triggered a furore online, with some saying the boy’s parents should be charged with child endangering, while others want the zoo held responsible for the animal’s death.

(Click here if you can’t watch the video)

Separately, US Department of Agriculture said it will investigate Saturday’s incident for any violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

Zoo authorities said the boy climbed over a three-foot-high railing, walked through bushes and plunged about 15 feet into a shallow moat.

The zoo’s dangerous-animal response team killed the gorilla as it dragged the boy through the water, authorities said. The boy had only minor scrapes on his head and knee, according to police.

Ohio State University criminal law professor Ric Simmons said he doubts a charge of child endangering could be proved in this instance, since the offense typically involves leaving a youngster unattended for an extended time, not a case of a child momentarily wandering off.

Harambe Harambe, a western lowland gorilla, was fatally shot by zookeepers. The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP

“The mother was standing next to a zoo exhibit and lost track of her child for perhaps a minute or so,” Simons said.

That has happened to almost every parent in the world in a public place.

Zoo director Thane Maynard said that using tranquilizers on the gorilla would not have knocked the animal out right away, leaving the boy in danger. Maynard said 17-year-old Harambe was agitated by the commotion from the crowd and was extremely powerful, capable of crushing a coconut in one hand.

He said the zoo remains safe for its 1.6 million annual visitors, but a review is underway to determine whether any improvements can be made.

Donald Trump weighed in yesterday, saying the zoo had little choice but to kill the gorilla. Trump said it was “a very tough call” but the child’s life was at stake.

The executive director of a Cincinnati-based animal rights organisation is calling on the USDA to fine the zoo.

Poll: Was zoo right to shoot gorilla after boy fell into enclosure? >

Read: Calls for parents of four-year-old boy who fell into gorilla enclosure to be prosecuted >

Associated Foreign Press
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