MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — St. Paul’s Como Zoo has eight western lowland gorillas, the same kind of endangered animal as the one killed at the Cincinnati Zoo.
You can look at them through glass in their indoor space, or across a fence in their outdoor habitat.
The death of the Cincinnati gorilla is on the minds of Como visitors.
“So sad, just so sad. But looking at this gorilla, I said, ‘If that gorilla was holding my child, I think I would have made the same decision that they made,'” said zoo visitor Karen Bloomquist.
A spokesman for Como Zoo showed us their 42-inch-high fencing, which is the industry standard. They also have additional catch rails and fencing in many areas.
If someone jumped into the lion exhibit, for example, there would still be a barrier. In Cincinnati, the child broke through a barrier before falling.
“I’m surprised, I’m surprised that would happen,” said visitor Gary Bloomquist.
A spokesperson for the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley says they have two sets of barriers: one to keep the animals in their area and another to keep people where they are supposed to be.
Both zoos have staff that is trained to use firearms if an animal escapes. But even with those measures in place, the Minnesota Zoo found itself in a tough spot in 2006.
Zookeepers put down a family of meerkats after a 9-year-old girl reached her hand into their exhibit and was bitten.
Both zoos conduct drills to make sure workers are ready to respond to an emergency in the way they have been trained. The Minnesota Zoo does not have any gorillas.