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Gorilla World Reopening June 7 With New Barrier

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

The Cincinnati Zoo will reopen its Gorilla World exhibit Tuesday, June 7, with a new barrier in place. The zoo  says, "The new barrier railing is 42" high with solid wood beams at the top and on the bottom with knotted rope netting."In a statement, the zoo reiterates that the "previous barrier passed multiple inspections by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and adhered to safety guidelines."

On Saturday, May 28, a 3-year-old boy climbed through existing barriers and fell into the Gorilla World exhibit. A 17-year-old gorilla was shot and killed during the rescue process. Click here and here to read more about the incident.

"Our exhibit goes above and beyond standard safety requirements, but in light of what happened, we have modified the outer public barrier to make entry even more difficult,” says Zoo Director Thane Maynard.

The release also quotes Interim President and AZA CEO Kris Vehrs saying, "In the case of this incident, which involved a child and a critically endangered animal, our collective goal is to take steps to assure it doesn't happen again. Incidents like this are very rare, and the AZA Accreditation Commission will continue working with our members so that AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums remain safe for the 183 million guests who visit each year."

Police Investigation

Also Thursday, Cincinnati police announced the investigation into the family of the boy who got into the exhibit is complete. The Hamilton County Prosecutor is now reviewing the information and is expected to make a decision soon, possibly Friday.

Editor's Note: Zoo Director Thane Maynard has worked with Cincinnati Public Radio for more than 20 years on the program The 90-Second Naturalist and conducting interviews for Cincinnati Edition.