Mother Averts Charges for Zoo Gorilla’s Death

      CINCINNATI (CN) — An Ohio prosecutor declined Monday to press charges against the mother of a 3-year-old whose fall into a gorilla enclosure ended with the shooting death of Harambe, a 17-year-old gorilla.
     Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters released a statement shortly before a 1 p.m. Monday press conference, saying “the zoo did the right thing when they took immediate action to save the life of a young child.”
     According to the press release, the silverback gorilla Harambe was killed by a single rifle shot to the head on May 28, after the child fell 15 feet into the animal’s enclosure.
     The prosecutor remained somber throughout the press conference and appeared distraught at times, as he lamented what he deemed “a tragedy on so many levels.”
     “By all accounts, this mother did not present this child to any harm,” Deters said.
     He told reporters he has received hundreds of emails about the incident, and said, “If you don’t believe a 3-year-old can scamper off, you don’t have kids.”
     “The mother had four children total,” Deters said. “All four witnesses who were interviewed described her as an attentive mother who turned her back to tend to another child.”
     While he admitted that the Cincinnati Zoo “lost a beautiful animal,” Deters was adamant that Harambe was “still an animal [that] does not equate human life.”
     The prosecutor went on to say that he has been “taken aback by people’s equivalence of human and animal life,” and that he “has never seen this kind of attention for a child endangerment case.”
     When asked about the family of the child who fell into the enclosure, Deters said, “They are doing great. The investigators [from Child and Family Services] were very impressed with [the boy’s] home and family environment.”
     After several questions from reporters, Deters concluded the press conference, and said, “On so many levels, this is a tragedy. I know the Cincinnati Zoo is heartsick about this … [but] there is nothing the mother could have done.”

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