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  • Harambe, a 17-year-old gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo is pictured in this undated handout photo provided by Cincinnati Zoo.Reuters
  • Flowers lay around a bronze statue of a gorilla and her baby outside the Cincinnati Zoo's Gorilla World exhibit, two days after a boy tumbled into its moat and officials were forced to kill Harambe, a Western lowland gorilla, in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S. May 30, 2016.Reuters
  • People attend a vigil outside the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, two days after a boy tumbled into its moat and officials were forced to kill Harambe, a Western lowland gorilla, in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S. May 30, 2016.Reuters
  • People attend a vigil outside the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, two days after a boy tumbled into its moat and officials were forced to kill Harambe, a Western lowland gorilla, in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S. May 30, 2016.Reuters
  • The entrance to the the Cincinnati Zoo's Gorilla World exhibit is closed, two days after a boy tumbled into its moat and officials were forced to kill Harambe, a Western lowland gorilla, in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S. May 30, 2016.Reuters
  • People attend a vigil outside the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, two days after a boy tumbled into its moat and officials were forced to kill Harambe, a Western lowland gorilla, in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S. May 30, 2016.Reuters
  • A person places a photo on a memorial during a vigil outside the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, two days after a boy tumbled into its moat and officials were forced to kill Harambe, a Western lowland gorilla, in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S. May 30, 2016.Reuters
  • Thane Maynard, Executive Director of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, speaks to reporters two days after a boy tumbled into a moat and officials were forced to kill Harambe, a Western lowland gorilla, in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S. May 30, 2016.Reuters

The Cincinnati Zoo's decision to kill the 17-year-old gorilla, Harambe, to save a four-year-old child's life could result in criminal charges against the authorities. The incident triggered a backlash from various animal rights and anti-zoo groups. People have also accused the boy's mother of bad parenting, Vice News reported.

Since the incident, which happened on Saturday afternoon, people have organised vigils for Harambe, placing flowers and cards at the entrance and inside the zoo, and also at the feet of a statue near Gorilla World.

An online petition called "Justice for Harambe" has garnered over 300,000 signatures and has called on child protection services and law enforcement agencies to investigate the boy's mother for negligence.

Vice News quoted from the petition: "This beautiful gorilla lost his life because the boy's parents did not keep a closer watch on the child... 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."

Meanwhile, the child's mother, Michelle Gregg, was trolled and abused on social media after she posted a message on Facebook extending her "heartfelt thanks for the quick action by the Cincinnati Zoo staff."

"We know that this was a very difficult decision for them, and that they are grieving the loss of their gorilla," the message said, as per the Vice News report.

She has, however, deactivated the account.

A Facebook page called 'I Supoort Michelle Gregg', started by a man named Kevin, has garnered 450 followers.