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June 1, 2016

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Cincinnati zoo reviewing safety following gorilla enclosure incident

mother-and-baby-1032295_960_720A zoo in Cincinnati is reviewing its health and safety in the aftermath of an incident where a boy fell into a gorilla enclosure on Saturday, following which the animal was shot dead.

The boy is understood to have climbed over a three-foot steel barrier between the public and the gorilla enclosure, and fell 15 feet into a shallow moat used by the animals.

Harambe, an adult male silverback gorilla, dragged the child across the moat by his ankle, banging the boy’s head on the concrete.

The gorilla carried the boy up a ladder to a rocky party of the enclosure injuring the boy further. Staff shot Harambe as the boy was between his feet, and the child was rescued.

The actions of the zoo are being investigated by the federal government and the zoo is said to be reviewing its safety procedures.

Reports show that the zoo’s Gorilla World exhibit was inspected in April 2016 and no violations were found.

Thane Maynard, the zoo’s director, said in a statement on Monday that the zoo was not negligent and the Gorilla World habitat was safe and complied with all regulations.

He added that following the incident safety at the exhibit was being reviewed and he did not know if there would be any changes made to the enclosure before it reopened.

Wildlife experts are calling for safety standards to be raised at zoos across the US because of incidents with dangerous animals and the public.

Adam Roberts, chief executive of animal advocacy group Born Free USA, said: “Every zoo in America should close their doors while they immediately review all their barriers and procedures.

“For Cincinnati zoo to suggest that the enclosure was safe flies in the face of the reality of the boy going into the exhibit.”

In March, SHP spoke to Douglas Garland, health and safety manager at Bristol Zoo, about his varied job, which included training a gun crew to keep lions in check.

In his interview, he said: “We have some serious animals here which are likely to kill if they escape, such as lions and gorillas. I am responsible for training the gun crew.

“They are first in line in controlling the animal, and we must kill it if human life is at risk.”

Read the full interview with Douglas.

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