Higher barrier to be put in place after boy fell into gorilla enclosure at Cincinnati Zoo

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Courtesy: Cincinnati Zoo

Courtesy: Cincinnati Zoo

CINCINNATI, Ohio– The Cincinnati Zoo plans to reopen its Gorilla World exhibit next week with a reinforced, higher safety barrier following the death of a gorilla to protect a boy who had entered its enclosure.

Zoo spokeswoman Michelle Curley says the new barrier railing will be 42 inches tall with solid wood beams added to the top and knotted rope netting at the bottom.

That’s a half-foot higher than the steel railing barrier a 3-year-old boy apparently climbed over to get into the enclosure last Saturday. The zoo’s dangerous animal response team killed the 17-year-old endangered western lowland gorilla after concluding the boy’s life was in danger.

The zoo says the exhibit has been open 38 years without any problems and has passed multiple outside inspections.

The exhibit will reopen June 7.

Meanwhile, an Ohio prosecutor is reviewing the investigation into the actions of child’s family.

A spokesman for Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters says Cincinnati police have concluded their probe. He says the earliest Deters will make a decision on whether charges should be pursued is Friday. Legal experts say a prosecution in the case seems unlikely.

The family says the boy is doing well at home after being treated at a hospital.

A spokeswoman says the family requests privacy and has no comment on the investigation.

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