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Gorilla exhibit at Cincinnati Zoo will reopen next week — with new barrier after boy fell in

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CINCINNATI — A new barrier railing with knotted rope netting will be installed at the Cincinnati Zoo exhibit where the popular Harambe gorilla was shot and killed after a boy fell into the animal’s enclosure, the zoo announced Thursday, June 2nd.

The exhibit will reopen to the public Tuesday, June 7th more than a week after zoo officials came under criticism for shooting the 450-pound western lowland silverback to save the boy’s life.


The barrier railing is 42 inches high with solid wood beams at the top, and knotted rope netting at the bottom, the zoo said in a statement.

Zoo officials said the previous barrier passed multiple inspections by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, but the incident Saturday, May 28th demonstrated the need for extra precautions.

“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,” Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard said in a statement.

Harambe violently dragged the boy through the water in a moat before being shot Saturday.

In a statement Wednesday, June 1st, the boy’s parents said a doctor had checked the child and he “is still doing well.”

Authorities said the boy’s mother was with the child when he slipped past a fence and tumbled into the moat.

Cincinnati police have reviewed the actions of the boy’s parents and turned over to prosecutors the results of their investigation.

Zoo officials said they killed Harambe because the boy’s life was in danger.

“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,” Kris Vehrs, interim president and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, said in a statement.

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