The mother of the 4-year-old boy who fell into an enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, resulting in the shooting death of beloved gorilla Harambe on Saturday, May 28, defended herself in a Facebook post.
As Us Weekly previously reported, the child crawled through a barrier and fell into a moat, where he was picked up and dragged around by the 400-pound, 17-year-old male gorilla. After keepers feared that the situation was life-threatening, a zoo employee shot and killed the animal to save the child.
Immediately after news broke, many social media users attacked the boy’s mother, accusing her of not watching her son and, as a result, causing the untimely death of one of the zoo’s beloved animals and an endangered species.
In a now-deleted Facebook post, the mom, Michelle Gregg, slammed those critics who questioned her parenting.
“I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers today,” she wrote. “What started off as a wonderful day turned into a scary one. For those of you that have seen the news or been on social media that was my son that fell in the gorilla exhibit at the zoo. God protected my child until the authorities were able to get him. My son is safe and was able to walk away with a concussion and a few scrapes…no broken bones or internal injuries.”
She continued, “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. Thank you to everyone that helped me and my son today and most importantly God for being the awsome [sic] God that He is.”
The Cincinnati Zoo also released a statement via Facebook on Saturday, defending its controversial decision to kill the gorilla.
“We are heartbroken about losing Harambe, but a child’s life was in danger and a quick decision had to be made by our Dangerous Animal Response Team,” park director Thane Maynard wrote in the note, adding that “tranquilizers do not take effect for several minutes and the child was in imminent danger.”