After a child fell into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo last week, a 17-year-old male gorilla was killed.
The Internet has not taken the news lightly, hitting out at the mother of the four-year-old boy who entered the enclosure.
There are Facebook pages calling for justice for the gorilla, Harambe, brandishing a meme reading: "Not sure why they killed me, I was doing a better job of watching that lady's kid than she was."
The image has been shared over 109,000 times, while the Justice For Harambe page as more than 85,000 followers.
A petition calling for the child's parents to be investigated by Child Protection Services and to be held financially accountable for the "negligence that cause Harambe to lose his life" has garnered over 226,000 signatures at the time of publishing.
Michelle has now responded to the online witch hunt.
"I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers today. What started off as a wonderful day turned into a scary one. For those of you that have seen the news or been on social media, that was my son that fell in the gorilla exhibit at the zoo. God protected my chld until the authorities were able to get him. My son is safe and was able to walk away with a concussion and a few scrapes... No broken bones or internal injuries.
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. Accidents happen but I am thankful that the right people were in the right place today. Thank you to everyone that helped me and my son today and most importantly for God for being the awesome God that He is."
Mamamia reports Michelle has since removed her Facebook page, potentially at the request of her lawyers.
There is yet to be any backlash for the child's father, or any news about whether or not he was present.
Meanwhile, Cinicinnati Zoo released a statement defending their decision to shoot the animal.
"We are heartbroken about losing Harambe, but a child’s life was in danger and a quick decision had to be made by our Dangerous Animal Response Team,” Zoo Director, Thane Maynard, said in the statement.
“Our first response was to call the gorillas out of the exhibit. The two females complied, but Harambe did not. It is important to note that with the child still in the exhibit, tranquilizing the 450-pound gorilla was not an option. Tranquilizers do not take effect for several minutes and the child was in imminent danger. On top of that, the impact from the dart could agitate the animal and cause the situation to get much worse.”
Video footage of the incident was caught by spectators. Watch below.