Following a tragic event last week where Cincinnati Zoo had to shoot and kill one of its treasured endangered gorillas to save a boy’s life, Cincinnati Zoo is now announcing that Gorilla World, the section of the park where it all took place, will re-open to the public next week.
The gorilla, named Harambe, was posing a threat to a four-year-old boy after he had somehow managed to get into the gorilla’s enclosure. Harambe was seen in a tourist-taken video dragging the boy around in the water at dangerous speeds where the boy’s head had the potential to collapse from hitting a nearby rock.
After the event struck outrage by Harambe supporters who believed the gorilla could have been tranquilized instead of killed, Cincinnati Zoo defended the action, saying it was “the right thing to do.”
The 400-pound gorilla was unpredictable and tranquilizer darts could have taken a long time to take effect. There was also the possibility that multiple darts would have been needed to settle Harambe down. Such darts may have also had the potential to irritate the gorilla, further posing a threat for the child.
After everything was all said and done, Gorilla World was closed down for a while. Cincinnati Zoo had to do something to prevent this problem from happening again despite the fact that Gorilla World had never experienced this kind of issue in the entire 38 years it has been open while 43 million visitors walked past the gorilla enclosure unharmed.
It seemed to be a fluke situation; one that you would never see coming in a million years.
Regardless, Cincinatti Zoo is planning to make modifications to the barrier between human and gorilla in Gorilla World to make it even tougher to get into. Ideally, the goal is to prevent slippery children who aren’t being supervised by their parents from getting in, which is exactly what happened in this recent scenario.
Bad parenting? Probably so. This isn’t the kind of thing you can leave the Zoo liable for, especially since the previous barrier passed multiple inspections from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) time and time again. Any parent who was watching their child wouldn't have let them climb the barrier to get over.
“It takes hard work and a sustained commitment to excellence to meet AZA accreditation standards. 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,” said Thane Maynard, Director of the Cincinnati Zoo.
Nevertheless, good-old Cincinnati Zoo is taking matters into their own hands, and is planning to make the barrier 42 inches tall with solid wood beams at the top and bottom. In between, there will be rope netting that keeps people from getting in and animals from getting out.
The Gorilla World exhibit will re-open again next week, on June 7th, with the updated barrier, according to a public statement from Cincinnati Zoo.
Source: Cincinatti Zoo