updated 9/2/2006 11:03:15 PM ET 2006-09-03T03:03:15

Zoo officials plan to build a glass-walled enclosure to display Little Joe, a gorilla who escaped three years ago and mauled a 2-year-old girl.

The new enclosure, with a mesh cap of woven steel and triple-layer glass walls, is part of $2.3 million renovation of the exhibition space inside the Franklin Park Zoo’s Tropical Forest building.

The renovation will display all seven of the zoo’s gorillas, including Little Joe and another male, Okpara, who have been kept out of the public eye to prevent another escape.

In September 2003, Joe leapt out of the exhibit in his second escape in two months. Joe reached the zoo pavilion and attacked 2-year-old Nia Scott and an off-duty zoo employee, Courtney Roberson, 18. They suffered cuts and bruises after Joe threw both to the ground and dragged them.

Joe was loose in the neighborhood for more than two hours before police subdued him with tranquilizer darts.

Lawsuits filed by Scott’s mother and Roberson against the zoo are pending. On Friday, the lawyer representing both families told The Boston Globe that the zoo’s improvements are too late.

“Why did it take two escapes and gorilla attacks on two innocent girls before Zoo New England finally decided to make the necessary modifications to the exhibit to contain this gorilla?” Donald Gibson asked.

Zoo New England manages the Franklin Park Zoo.

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