We still don’t know exactly how a 4-year-old ended up in the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnatti Zoo, but police are investigating the parents to find out what happened.
Cincinnati police said Tuesday that their review “is only regarding the actions of the parents/family that led up to the incident and not related to the operation or safety of the Cincinnati Zoo.”
“After the review, we will determine if charges need to be brought forward,” police spokeswoman Tiffaney Hardy said. “If it is determined charges need to be brought forward, we would then discuss it with the Hamilton County prosecutor’s office.”
Authorities have said the boy’s mother was with the child at the time he slipped past a fence and tumbled into the moat.
Julie Wilson, spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office, declined to say how long the investigation might take.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, an accrediting agency, also announced that it was investigating the Harambe episode. “We’ll of course be taking a closer look at that working with Cincinnati to figure out what happened and make sure we can firm that up so it doesn’t happen again,” said to Rob Vernon, spokesman for the AZA.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which inspects the zoo annually, said it will determine whether the incident happened because the zoo was not in compliance with the Animal Welfare Act , according to Public Affairs Specialist Tanya Espinosa.
If not, that would warrant a formal investigation, she said.
“There is no time frame for looking into an incident or determining whether to open an investigation,” Espinosa said. “We want to ensure that we are thorough.”
CNN independently reviewed USDA records for the last three years, which is all that is maintained by the agency, and found nine findings where the zoo was out of compliance although none involved the gorilla exhibit.
Two involving veterinary care were directly tied to the health or wellness of the animals, and seven dealt with other issues; all were resolved, according to USDA reports.