A petition has been launched urging police and zoo authorities to hold the parents of the child who entered a gorilla’s enclosure at Cincinnati Zoo – leading to its shooting – responsible for the “senseless death”.

Zoo officials shot Harambe, a critically-endangered 17-year-old gorilla, on Saturday after the 4-year-old climbed through a public barrier and fell into the Gorilla World moat.

Zoo officials said they shot the 400lb animal when the situation became “life-threatening” for the child. Harambe had picked the child up and had stayed with him for about 10 minutes.

Authorities said the child, who has not been identified, fell 10 to 12 feet.

He was taken to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where he is expected to recover. Hospital officials said they could not release any information on him.

Two female gorillas were also in the enclosure when the boy fell in but zoo officials said only the male remained with the child.

In footage recorded at the scene, the gorilla can be seen standing over the child in a corner of the enclosure for a few moments.

As he makes his way through the water, he stops and pulls the child onto his feet.

At one point a woman can be heard yelling: “Mummy’s right here.”

She later calls out to the boy, saying: “Mummy loves you.”

Maynard said the gorilla did not appear to be attacking the child, but he said the animal was “an extremely strong” and in an agitated situation.

Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard said in a statement: “The zoo security team’s quick response saved the child’s life.

“We are all devastated that this tragic accident resulted in the death of a critically-endangered gorilla.”

He added: “This is a huge loss for the zoo family and the gorilla population worldwide.”

He said tranquilising the gorilla would not have knocked him out immediately, leaving the boy in danger.

Officials said that the zoo will be open tomorrow, but Gorilla World will be closed until further notice.

On Friday, Cincinnati Zoo posted a picture of Harambe on its Facebook page, announcing that it was the gorilla’s 17th birthday.

Harambe was bred in captivity and was moved to Cincinnati in 2015 from the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas.

Source: Fury Over Harambe, Cincinnati Zoo Gorilla Shot Dead In ‘Senseless’ Act