Zoo: Gorilla's death drew attention, didn't hurt attendance

CINCINNATI (AP) " The fatal shooting of a gorilla in its enclosure is still drawing attention but hasn't significantly affected attendance, the director of the Cincinnati Zoo said.

The 17-year-old gorilla, Harambe, was killed in May when a 3-year-old boy scampered away from his mother and got into the animal's enclosure. The shooting sparked outrage among some people, but zoo officials said they had no choice, given the danger the animal posed to the child.

"We need to bring closure to the Harambe incident," Commissioner Todd Portune said. "We've got to put this to rest because our constituents have asked us to."

Hamilton County commissioners said Monday they're satisfied with the zoo's response but want to see any internal reports or analyses about what went wrong, The Cincinnati Enquirer (http://cin.ci/2eBFWAr) reported.

Director Thane Maynard said officials will provide that to the commissioners, who must approve a zoo levy before it appears on the ballot.

Attendance at the zoo remained comparable to 2015 with about 1.2 million visitors this year, according to Maynard.

The zoo has since reopened its gorilla exhibit with a reinforced barrier that is 6 inches higher than the previous one.

"It was an adequate barrier, but it wasn't adequate to that test," Maynard said of the incident. "No one expected this to happen."

Each barrier at the zoo was inspected and changes were made where needed.

Maynard said the zoo and its staff are doing their best to adapt to the post-Harambe world.

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Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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