Gorilla World to Reopen at Cincinnati Zoo With 'Modified' Barrier

The Gorilla World exhibit will have a new, taller barrier.

ByABC News
June 2, 2016, 12:30 PM

— -- The Gorilla World exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden will reopen Tuesday, with a taller barrier around the gorilla enclosure, the zoo announced today.

"It takes hard work and a sustained commitment to excellence to meet AZA accreditation standards," Thane Maynard, the 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," he added.

The announcement comes as authorities said the Cincinnati Police Department has concluded its investigation into a toddler's entering and falling into the gorilla the enclosure, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deter said today. Authorities have not yet released the results of the investigation.

The incident, which resulted in the fatal shooting of an endangered silverback gorilla named Harambe, 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."

Relatives of the toddler, whom the 450-pound Harambe dragged around the enclosure, 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," his 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.