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Cincinnati Zoo Re-Opens Its Gorilla Exhibit with Improved Safety Precautions

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The Cincinnati Zoo's gorilla exhibit is re-opened with new safety precautions.

The exhibit has been closed since May 28, when a 3-year-old boy got into the enclosure.  Zoo staff shot and killed a gorilla to rescue the toddler.  Zoo Director and WVXU contributor Thane Maynard says the zoo installed a new rope fence and three surveillance cameras.

"The exhibit we had was safe. It was safe for 38 years. Over 43 million people came through this exhibit during that time.  Every year it passed accreditation inspections through the AZA. It passed twice-a-year inspections from the USDA. "But nonetheless, we felt a new, bigger barrier helps reassure our visitors and guests, and redoubles our effort to make sure our animals are safe, and that our visitors are as well."

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Maynard says the new fence is taller and has rope netting to keep people out. He says the improved exhibit shows the zoo's dedication to customers' safety. He also says that the incident last week proves that families need to be careful when visiting the zoo.

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Maynard on family safety at the zoo

"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, and that we go around and check different exhibits, not just this one, and make sure that all our barriers are up to speed. It’s perfectly safe."

Maynard says the zoo is cooperating with an ongoing USDA investigation.