Hundreds of thousands of people want justice for Harambe, a silverback gorilla shot and killed after a boy fell into the animal's enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo on May 28.
Annie Gutierrez of Chicago, IL, started the Change petition to establish "Harambe's Law." Under the proposed law, zoos and people involved in the death of endangered animal deaths would held legally accountable.
"No one wants to see any harm come to a human visiting the zoo, but this entire tragedy could have been avoided, had this little boy been properly supervised," the petition reads. "It is completely negligent for any man, woman, or child to enter an exhibit or restricted area at a zoo, sanctuary or wild animal park."
To ensure this never happens again, we would like to enact Harambe's Law, that if at anytime this shall occur, the negligent party and or party's be held financially and criminally responsible for any harm and or loss to an animal, specifically when said animal is Critically Endangered.
Gutierrez addressed the petition to Ohio representative Denise Driehaus and Ohio senator Cecil Thomas, So far, over 100,000 people have signed the petition to voice their anger over Harambe's death.
The "Justice for Harambe" Facebook page also has over 100,000 supporters.
The Cincinnati Zoo, however, is defending their decision to put down the animal. They maintain that the boy's life was in danger.
Zoo director Thane Maynard said in an online statement that the two female gorillas complied when called out of the cage by keepers, but the male didn't. He said that they considered a tranquilizer, but the impact from the dart would have made things worse.
The 4-year-old spent about 15 minutes inside the exhibit before the animal went down. He was treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital Saturday night.
"We are all devastated that this tragic accident resulted in the death of a critically endangered gorilla," Maynard said. "This is a huge loss for the zoo family and the gorilla population worldwide."
Jack Hanna, the director emeritus of Ohio's Columbus Zoo, supports the Zoo's decision, per People.
"I've seen him take a green coconut, which you can't bust open with a sledgehammer and squish it like this," he said on "Good Morning America." "You're dealing with either human life or animal life here. So what is the decision? I think it's very simple to figure that out."
Apparently, it's not quite that simple.
Witnesses say the gorilla seemed to be protecting the boy before getting startled by onlookers' screams and dragging the boy to a different part of the den.
Social media users expressed outrage using the #JusticeforHarambe hashtag and, many — like the petition creator — blamed the child's mother.
The boy's mother, Michelle Gregg, defended herself in a now-deleted Facebook post screenshot by People.
"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..." she wrote.
Officers said Gregg will not be charged, but officials haven't yet responded to the petition.
"It is too late to save Harambe, but we can protect not only the people that come to see these animals," the petition concludes, "but need to protect the animals themselves."