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.
So you can't tranquilize the gorilla because it might fall on the child but you can shoot it dead and it definitely won't? #Harambe
— Polly Smyth (@MissPollySmyth) June 1, 2016
#Harambe not forgetting that none of this would have happened if animals weren't being kept in zoos still...
— Miranda Tempest (@mirandat312) June 1, 2016
I wish more people were raised to have compassion, respect and education for animals. Maybe then #justiceforharambe wouldn't have to trend
— Eva Gutowski (@lifeaseva) May 30, 2016