CINCINNATI (AP) -- The family of a boy who survived a 15-foot fall into a gorilla exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo says he is home and doing fine.

The family released a statement Sunday thanking the zoo staff for their quick response.

A special animal response team shot and killed a 17-year-old gorilla that grabbed the boy Saturday afternoon. The team believed the 4-year-old's life was in danger.

The boy and his family haven't been identified and are asking for privacy. A family spokeswoman says they are from the Cincinnati area.

The family says they know that it was a difficult decision for the zoo to shoot the gorilla.

Witness Kim O'Connor told WLWT-TV that she heard the boy say he wanted to get in the water with the gorillas.

An animal rights group says the zoo should have had a second barrier around its gorilla exhibit where a boy fell into a moat.

A statement from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says captivity is never acceptable for gorillas and it turned deadly this time.

Two witnesses say they thought the gorilla was trying to protect the boy at first before getting spooked by the screams of onlookers.