The parents of a toddler who fell into a gorilla enclosure at a zoo in the US state of Ohio last month will not face charges, a prosecutor said Monday.
The family faced an outburst of criticism after keepers were forced to shoot the rare 400-pound (180 kilogram) animal to rescue the three-year-old boy during the incident at the Cincinnati Zoo.
The mother — who was watching three children in addition to the boy — did not act “in any way where she presented this child to some harm,” prosecutor Joseph Deters told a news conference.
The mother was “attentive by all witness accounts, and the three-year-old just scampered off,” he added.
An accompanying statement from Deters’ office said that the mother turned away for a few seconds to attend to another of her children and it was at this point that the boy was able to climb into the enclosure.
“Any parent who is honest with himself or herself would have to understand how this could happen to even the most attentive parent,” Deters said in the statement.
The boy fell into the gorilla exhibit on May 28, and images showing the animal dragging the child into the water went viral worldwide.
Some on social media condemned the mother for not looking after her son, allowing an incident that resulted in the death of an animal.