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Gorilla World Exhibit Reopens With New Barrier

Gorilla World at the Cincinnati Zoo reopened ten days after a boy got into the enclosure.
Gorilla World at the Cincinnati Zoo reopened ten days after a boy got into the enclosure.
Gorilla World at the Cincinnati Zoo reopened ten days after a boy got into the enclosure.
Credit Bill Rinehart / WVXU
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Gorilla World at the Cincinnati Zoo reopened ten days after a boy got into the enclosure.

The Cincinnati Zoo's gorilla exhibit is reopen with new safety precautions in place. 

The exhibit was closed May 28, when a 3-year-old boy got into the enclosure. Zoo staff shot and killed a gorilla to rescue him. 

Zoo director Thane Maynard says the zoo has installed a new rope barrier and three surveillance cameras.

"The exhibit we had was safe," Maynard says. "It was safe for 38 years. Over 43 million people came through this exhibit during that time. Every year it passed accreditation inspections from the AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums). It passed twice a year inspections from the USDA." 

"But, nonetheless, we felt a new bigger barrier helps reinsure (sic) our visitors and guests, and redoubles our efforts to make sure that our animals are safe and our visitors are as well," Maynard says. 

Zoo director and WVXU contributor Thane Maynard says the new barrier should insure visitor and animal safety.
Credit Bill Rinehart / WVXU
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Zoo director and WVXU contributor Thane Maynard says the new barrier should insure visitor and animal safety.

Maynard says the new fence is taller and has rope netting to keep kids out.

"I think this whole incident, as well as all the publicity, reinforces the idea that parents and kids need to stick together when they're at the zoo," Maynard says. 

"And also that we go around and check different exhibits, not just this one, and make sure that all of our barriers are up to speed," he says. "So, it's perfectly safe."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is conducting an investigation into the incident. Maynard says the zoo is cooperating with that investigation.

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.

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