Cincinnati Police Are Investigating Family After Boy Falls Into Gorilla Enclosure
The Cincinnati police are investigating after a 4-year-old boy slipped into a zoo enclosure on Saturday, leading to a tense, chaotic scene in which the male gorilla that dragged the boy around was shot dead by zoo workers.
The shooting of the teenage gorilla, named Harambe, prompted a chorus of online criticism, vigils for the lost animal, complaints by animal rights activists and petitions blaming the boy’s mother. The episode was even raised at a news conference held Tuesday by Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
As video showing the boy and the huge gorilla continued to be played on television and online, officials raised the possibility on Tuesday of criminal charges. Julie Wilson, a spokeswoman with the Hamilton County prosecutor’s office, said the matter had been referred to the Cincinnati Police Department for investigation.
Wilson added that any investigation would not be directed at either the zoo or the mother, but that it would be a “general” inquiry by the police, who would then confer with the prosecutor’s office.
“At this point, everybody is just looking into it to see what’s going on,” she said. “I can’t tell you that anyone will be charged with anything.”
Lt. Stephen Saunders, a spokesman for the Cincinnati Police Department, said the department was not releasing the name of the family.
辛辛那提警察局(Cincinnati Police Department)发言人警督史蒂芬·桑德斯(Stephen Saunders)表示，警局不会公布小男孩一家的姓名。
In addition, an animal rights group said on Tuesday that it had filed a negligence complaint against the zoo with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
此外，一个动物权益保护团体周二表示，其已向美国农业部(U.S. Department of Agriculture)提交了对该动物园工作失职的投诉。
The boy slipped through the Gorilla World exhibit’s barrier while visiting with his mother and fell into a shallow moat on Saturday afternoon. Videos of the encounter posted to Twitter showed the silverback gorilla dragging him around like a toy, while a woman could be heard calling to the sobbing child: “Mommy loves you! I’m right here.”
After about 10 minutes, zoo workers shot and killed the animal. The boy, who was hurt but not severely, was taken to a hospital and released on Saturday night, zoo officials said.
Thane Maynard, the zoo’s director, has forcefully rejected criticism of the decision to kill the gorilla instead of using a tranquilizer dart. He said at a news conference on Monday that the dart could have caused the animal, capable of crushing a coconut with his hands, to become even more agitated.
The animal rights group Stop Animal Exploitation Now said the zoo had been cited twice recently for problems with its enclosures and facilities. In the negligence complaint it filed with the Department of Agriculture against the zoo, it called for the maximum federal penalty of $10,000 per infraction per animal, it said in a statement.
名为“现在就停止动物剥削”(Stop Animal Exploitation Now)的动物权益组织称，这家动物园最近已经两次因为场地和设施的问题被提及。该组织在一份声明中称，已向农业部投诉该动物园失职，并在投诉信中呼吁对每只动物涉及的每项违规处以联邦最高罚款1万美元。
“The failure of the Cincinnati Zoo to adequately construct this enclosure to protect both the public and the animal held prisoner there is a clear and fatal violation of the Animal Welfare Act,” the group said in its letter to the Agriculture Department.
“辛辛那提动物园(Cincinnati Zoo)未能妥善修建这片场地，以保护民众和被囚禁在里面的动物，这一点显而易见，严重违反《动物福利法》(Animal Welfare Act)，”该组织在写给农业部的信中说。
The zoo said in a statement after the killing that the boy had climbed through a public barrier at the exhibit. The two female gorillas in the exhibit were successfully recalled, but Harambe stayed in the yard with the child. The video showed the gorilla sometimes standing over the boy in what appeared to be a protective posture, but then darting through the shallow moat, dragging the child behind him.
Maynard said the child’s head had banged on concrete. The episode generated widespread reaction, with some people criticizing the zoo, others supporting the mother and online petitions accusing her of negligence. Animal rights supporters organized a vigil outside the zoo in remembrance of the gorilla.
On Tuesday, Trump was asked at a news conference how he felt about the killing of the gorilla. He said: “I think it’s a very tough call. It was amazing because there were moments with the gorilla, the way he held that child, it was almost like a mother holding a baby. Looked so beautiful and calm, and there were moments where it looked pretty dangerous.
“I thought it was so beautiful to watch that powerful, almost 500-pound gorilla, the way he dealt with that little boy, but it just takes one second,” Trump continued.
“It just takes one little flick of his finger, and I will tell you they probably had no choice.”