Gorilla World to Reopen at Cincinnati Zoo with ‘Modified’ Barrier

Kim O'Connor(CINCINNATI) — The Gorilla World exhibit will reopen next Tuesday and the zoo will install a taller barrier around the gorilla enclosure, the zoo announced Thursday.

"It takes hard work and a sustained commitment to excellence to meet AZA accreditation standards," Thane Maynard, director of the Cincinnati Zoo, said in a statement, referring to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

"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," Maynard added.

The announcement comes as authorities said the Cincinnati Police Department has concluded its investigation into the incident in which a toddler fell into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deter said Thursday.

However, authorities have not yet released the results of the investigation.

The incident, which resulted in an endangered silverback gorilla named Harambe being shot to death, sparked a heated debate about parental responsibility and the zoo's response.

"The Cincinnati Police Department has finished their investigation into this matter and turned their investigation over to the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office for review. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters will review this information," the prosecutor's office said in a statement. "The earliest that Mr. Deters will conclude his review would be Friday, June 3rd."

The Cincinnati Police Department said in a statement on Tuesday that the probe was "only regarding the actions of the parents/family that led up to the incident and not related to the operation or safety of the Cincinnati Zoo."

The family of the toddler who fell into the enclosure and was dragged around by the 450-pound gorilla have expressed their thanks to the Cincinnati Zoo.

“Our child has had a checkup by his doctor and is still doing well. We continue to praise God for His grace and mercy, and to be thankful to the Cincinnati Zoo for their actions taken to protect our child," the family said in a statement.

"We are also very appreciative for the expressions of concern and support that have been sent to us. Some have offered money to the family, which we do not want and will not accept. If anyone wishes to make a gift, we recommend a donation to the Cincinnati Zoo in Harambe’s name," the family added.

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