The parents of the toddler who fell or jumped into the Gorilla World exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo, resulting in the death of a beloved primate, are asking the public to donate money to the zoo in the gorilla's name.
Deonne Dickerson, 33, and Michelle Gregg, 32, say they are "thankful" that the zoo's SWAT team took out the gorilla named Harambe, who was standing guard over the couple's son, Isiah, 4, after he fell into the moat on Saturday.
In a statement released by the family Wednesday, Gregg wrote: "We continue to praise God for His grace and mercy, and to be thankful to the Cincinnati Zoo for their actions taken to protect our child.
"We are also very appreciative for the expressions of concern and support that have been sent to us.
"Some have offered money to the family, which we do not want and will not accept. If anyone wishes to make a gift, we recommend a donation to the Cincinnati Zoo in Harambe’s name."
Meanwhile, the couple is under investigation by the Cincinnati Police Department.
CPD spokeswoman Tiffaney Hardy told The New York Post: "We’re looking into the incidents that led up to the incident."
But skeptical observers question why the police aren't looking into the actions of the zoo workers who shot an innocent animal.
Witnesses say Isiah repeatedly begged his mother to let him swim with the gorillas in the moat. But she told him no. Moments later, while Gregg was distracted by her other children, Isiah crawled under a railing, over some rocks, and through some bushes into the exhibit.
Witnesses heard a splash, and the 450-pound gorilla ambled over to the spot where Isiah landed and stood protectively over him.
As the crowd screamed and yelled, the agitated primate grabbed Isiah by the leg and dragged him through the shallow water to higher ground and safety.
Instead of rewarding Harambe with sweets or fruit for protecting the child, the overzealous members of the so-called "Dangerous Animal Response Team (DART)" grabbed high-powered rifles and shot him dead.
It took 17 minutes for the team to arrive at the gorilla exhibit.
Zoo director Thane Maynard admitted the team practiced killing an animal after 2 lions attacked a man and were shot dead in the Santiago, Chile zoo last month.
The 17-year-old western lowland gorilla is part of a dying species that will soon be extinct.