Cincinnati Zoo unveils indoor gorilla exhibit

WCPOPublished: December 6, 2017
Published: December 6, 2017

Starting Wednesday, visitors to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden can see gorillas all year long at a new indoor enclosure allowing them to safely come face-to-face with our primate friends.  “Every inch of the habitat has been designed with the gorillas’ needs in mind. Their strength and intelligence was also factored in, so the entire structure is gorilla proof,” said Thane Maynard, director of the Cincinnati Zoo. “The primate staff, architects and our facilities department collaborated throughout the entire design and construction process. As a result, the gorillas have an amazing, naturalistic space with endless opportunities for exploration.” Zoo officials said they hope the floor-to-ceiling viewing glass will help inspire gorilla conservation by safely getting visitors up close and personal with the zoo’s 11 gorillas: Jomo, Samantha, M'linzi, Mara, Chewie, Anju, Asha, Gladys, Mona, Elle and Mshindi.  Of course, the Cincinnati Zoo is now synonymous worldwide with the shooting death of the gorilla Harambe after a child wandered into the exhibit in May 2016. Maynard confronted the elephant in the room at a news conference Tuesday. "Last year, we had a tough year," he said. "We lost Harambe. We had a lot of criticism from around the world, but locally people were with us. We redoubled our effort at the Cincinnati Zoo and our commitment to gorillas." Phase one of the Gorilla World expansion was completed in June and included increased usable land space on one side of the resurfaced outdoor habitat, a more energy-efficient stream and waterfall, rolling hills, new landscaping and an improved space for colobus monkeys. The less visible, but equally important, component of this part of the expansion included modernized living areas for the gorillas and a new behind-the-scenes configuration that provides them with spatial variety and easy options to move past one another.

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