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Ohio Gorilla Exhibit Where Harambe Was Shot Dead Gets Remodel

by Tim Stelloh /
Image: Harambe, a western lowland gorilla
Harambe, a western lowland gorilla, who was fatally shot May 28, 2016, to protect a 3-year-old boy who had entered its exhibit.Jeff McCurry / Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden via AP

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The Cincinnati Zoo facility where the silverback gorilla Harambe was shot dead last year will reopen next month with an expanded and remodeled outdoor exhibit.

A new indoor area is slated to open in the fall, the zoo said in a statement Friday.

Image: Harambe, a western lowland gorilla
Harambe, a western lowland gorilla, who was fatally shot May 28, 2016, to protect a 3-year-old boy who had entered its exhibit.Jeff McCurry / Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden via AP

The reopening comes about one year after a 3-year-old boy fell nearly 15 feet into Harambe's enclosure. Horrified witnesses watched for 10 minutes as the 450-pound, 17-year-old lowland gorilla began "violently dragging and throwing the child," as the city's top fire official, Marc Monahan, said later.

A zoo employee fired one shot from a long gun at the animal, killing him and triggering an avalanche of criticism.

Investigators from the U.S. Agriculture Department later concluded that the enclosure's barrier didn't comply with federal standards, although zoo officials have said authorities approved the facility just a month before Harambe's death.

The zoo later redesigned the enclosure's fence, adding 6 inches to it.

A campaign to fund the expansion was launched before Harambe was killed, and Friday's statement includes no details about new alterations to the barrier. The exhibit's 10 gorillas will get new rolling hills and landscaping, modernized living areas and an energy-efficient waterfall and stream.

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