A prosecutor has said he is not seeking charges against the mother of a 3-year-old boy who got into the Cincinnati Zoo’s gorilla exhibit, resulting in the shooting of an endangered gorilla to protect the child.
Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters said the child’s mother had three other children with her, and she was attending to them when the 3-year-old “just scampered off” on May 28. He said children’s services made a visit to the boy and mother, and social workers were impressed by the child’s environment.
Mr Deters said that the mother’s actions were “not even close” to meriting reckless endangerment charges.
Legal experts had said prosecution on child endangerment or similar charges seems unlikely. The family declined to comment.
The zoo plans to reopen its Gorilla World today with a higher, reinforced barrier. The boy apparently climbed over the outer barrier before falling some 4.5m into a shallow moat.
A special response team shot and killed the 17-year-old western lowland gorilla named Harambe to protect the boy.
The zoo’s role will be reviewed by the Department of Agriculture, which enforces the Animal Welfare Act. An animal protection watchdog group has urged that the zoo face federal fines.
The shooting caused a wide outpouring of criticism, blaming the boy’s parents or the zoo for the gorilla death.
The zoo said that there had been no previous breaches in Gorilla World’s 38-year history
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