Petition calling for 'Harambe's Law' gathers over 100k supporters

Petition calls for Harambe's Law (VIDEO)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Activists are banding together in support of Harambe by creating a petition to pass 'Harambe's Law.'

The petition states the law would give legal consequences when an endangered animal is harmed or killed due to the negligence of visitors.

As of Tuesday morning, the petition has more than 106,000 supporters. Once it reaches enough signatures, its author - a woman from Chicago - said she plans to send it to lawmakers.

Another petition, by a woman in Cincinnati, blames the boy's parents for neglect and calls for them to be investigated. That one has more than 300,000 supporters.

Locally, community members took to social media immediately after news broke of the death of 17-year-old Harambe at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical.

The Western Lowland Gorilla was shot dead after dragging a child who wandered into the animal's exhibit Saturday.

Zoo Director Thane Maynard said the boy crawled through a barrier and fell about 15-feet into the exhibit's moat around 4 p.m. Fire officials at the scene witnessed the gorilla "violently dragging and throwing the child," according to a release from Cincinnati Fire Department.

"The reason the tranquilizing was not chosen is that in an agitated situation, which the male was, it may take quite a while for a tranquilizer to take effect," said Maynard.

The gorilla had just turned 17 on Saturday - one day before the incident.

Zoo-goers from across the country posted condolences online.

The Cincinnati Zoo posted condolences on their Facebook page to everyone who was touched by the passing of Harambe.

"We're glad to hear that the child is going to be okay. We're touched by the outpouring of support from the community and our members who loved Harambe," said Maynard. "The Zoo family is going through a painful time, and we appreciate your understanding and know that you care about our animals and the people who care for them."

The family of the boy who fell into the gorilla enclosure issued a statement saying they are thankful their child is safe and extended their condolences to the zoo staff.

"We are so thankful to the Lord that our child is safe," the family wrote. "We extend our heartfelt thanks for the quick action by the Cincinnati Zoo staff. We know that this was a very difficult decision for them, and that they are grieving the loss of their gorilla. We hope that you will respect our privacy at this time."

The incident also sparked controversy with animal rights activists against the zoo.

PETA Primatologist Julia Gallucci issued the following statement in response to the killing of Harambe.

Yet again, captivity has taken an animal's life. The gorilla enclosure should have been surrounded by a secondary barrier between the humans and the animals to prevent exactly this type of incident. Gorillas have shown that they can be protective of smaller living beings and react the same way any human would to a child in danger. Consider Binti Jua, the gorilla who carried a child to a zookeeper's gate. Even under the "best" circumstances, captivity is never acceptable for gorillas or other primates, and in cases like this, it's even deadly. This tragedy is exactly why PETA urges families to stay away from any facility that displays animals as sideshows for humans to gawk at.

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