Back in June, the Cincinnati police department declared that the parents of the child who fell into Harambe the gorilla’s enclosure would not be charged after a criminal probe. However, the federal government has continued its investigation into whether the zoo had taken necessary steps to avoid such a situation. In a final ruling, the feds determined that the Cincinnati zoo’s enclosure’s barrier did not meet standards on the day Harambe was killed.
The investigation concludes after much outrage over the fate of Harambe, who was shot after an errant toddler dropped into his environment, and the zoo determined that the 400-pound animal posed a life-threatening danger to the young boy. Questions swirled over whether the incident could have been prevented, and only a few days after the incident occurred, the zoo quickly built a modified barrier. The taller and larger structure (hopefully) won’t allow for a repeat situation, but the feds have nonetheless ruled that fines or other penalties could arrive after their determination.
According to CBS News, the reactive procedures followed by the zoo’s dangerous-animal response team were in compliance, but the feds may take further action based upon preventative slip-ups concerning the state of the barrier. That is to say, the wiring at the bottom of the existing fence reportedly contained too much slack and could have been ‘manipulated to an eight-inch gap,” which allowed the child to slip through without his mother noticing until it was too late.
Somewhere along the way, Harambe the gorilla was appropriated by the Internet in memes and politicized too. With the closing of the investigation, Cincinnati zoo hopes to move forward and ensure that no incident like this happens again.