The family members of a 3-year-old boy who fell into a gorilla pen at the Cincinnati Zoo, leading to workers shooting and killing Harambe the gorilla, have released a statement suggesting their supporters donate to the zoo.
“We are also very appreciative for the expressions of concern and support that have been sent to us,” the family said in a statement to ABC News. “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.”
Earlier this week, a woman named Michelle Gregg claimed to be the boy’s mother on Facebook. She has subsequently faced harassment and vitriol on social media from people blaming her for the gorilla’s death and saying she should have been watching her son more closely. (Other people with the same name have also been harassed.)
An online petition calling for child protective services to investigate Gregg has garnered more than 60,000 signatures.
Gregg defended herself on Facebook, calling the situation an accident.
“As a society we are quick to judge how a parent could take their eyes off of their child and if anyone knows me I keep a tight watch on my kids,” she wrote. “Accidents happen but I am thankful that the right people were in the right place.” She noted that her son was “safe” and suffered only a concussion and “a few scrapes.”
The zoo, which has also received plenty of criticism for shooting Harambe, has defended its decision, with director Thane Maynard saying the gorilla was “clearly agitated” and was hurting the boy by dragging him around by the ankle.
This article has been updated to change the boy’s age. Zoo officials at first reported the boy’s age as 4, but police later said in a statement that officials had verified he was 3, according to The New York Times.