Statement Regarding USDA Review
The Cincinnati Zoo reaffirms its longstanding commitment to the well-being of the resident animals and the safety of those inspired to view and conserve them. Its stellar record in that regard includes forty-three million visitors over the last four decades who have enjoyed the Gorilla World exhibit without coming in contact with the gorillas. In its 38-year history, the barrier system at Gorilla World has always been found compliant during USDA inspections, including one conducted in April of 2016. Following the incident this May, we modified the barrier to reassure the public and our visitors.
In a letter to the Cincinnati Zoo’s board of directors, Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer, Director, Animal Welfare Operations USDA, APHIS, Animal Care wrote, “Animal Care recognizes and appreciates the swift and comprehensive actions taken in response to this incident, both the immediate response during the incident and the overall review of barrier systems throughout the facility. We also acknowledge that the barrier system at Gorilla World was considered to be in compliance with Section 3.78(e) of the Animal Welfare Act Regulations during inspections prior to the incident in question and had been performing admirably for many years.”
“We remain committed to visitor and animal safety and will continue to work with the USDA and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to ensure that our exhibits meet or exceed standards,” said Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard.