Days after a young boy fell into a gorilla exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo, prompting officials to shoot and kill the endangered animal, the child’s family said in a statement that he was “doing well” and asked people to remember the ape who lost his life.
“We continue to praise God for His grace and mercy, and to be thankful to the Cincinnati Zoo for their actions taken to protect our child,” the family said in the statement emailed to The Post on Wednesday.
“We are also very appreciative for the expressions of concern and support that have been sent to us. Some have offered money to the family, which we do not want and will not accept. If anyone wishes to make a gift, we recommend a donation to the Cincinnati Zoo in Harambe’s name.”
A spokeswoman said in the email that the family is not giving interviews at this time.
The encounter occurred Saturday afternoon after the boy found a way through a barrier and fell into the outdoor gorilla center at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, zoo director Thane Maynard said at a weekend news conference.
Maynard said the gorilla, a 17-year-old male named Harambe, “went down and got him.”
Harambe grabbed the child and started to drag him, Maynard said, and officials tasked with handling the situation decided that the boy’s life was in danger.
“It seemed very much by our professional team, our dangerous-animal response team, to be a life-threatening situation,” Maynard said at the news conference. “And so the choice was made to put down, or shoot, Harambe.
“And so he’s gone.”
After the incident, the zoo said in a news release that the boy was 4, however the family spokeswoman on Wednesday clarified that he is 3 years old.
The incident ignited nationwide uproar — some criticizing the zoo’s decision to kill the gorilla and others pointing fingers at the child’s family.
Prosecutors from Hamilton County in Ohio said Tuesday that the Cincinnati Police Department will look into the incident and prosecutors will meet with police following their investigation into the matter.
This post has been updated, and a date was corrected.