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Woodland Park Zoo delays baby gorilla debut, addresses security concerns

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SEATTLE -- Visitors will wait another week to meet the newest member of Woodland Park Zoo’s gorilla family. The zoo delayed the public debut of 6-month-old Yola, which was set for Wednesday. Zoo curator Martin Ramirez said they made the decision after the security breach at the Cincinnati Zoo.

"I thought we would probably be best if we did not draw attention away necessarily by sharing our news with our infant here," said Ramirez.

The baby gorilla Yola at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo. (Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo)

The baby gorilla Yola at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo.
(Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo)

Over the weekend, zookeepers shot and killed a rare gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo after a 4-year-old boy slipped into its enclosure. Ramirez reassured visitors that Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo has many layers of security to provide a safe environment.

He said several times a year the zoo conducts emergency drills and officials plan for every scenario. Employees inspect exhibits regularly. They also have nets, tranquilizers, and guns at the zoo.

"We have a priority with regards to safety and we always put the safety of our guests and staff before our animals. Animals are a close second,” said Ramirez.

He added that the zoo has never had a security breach like the one in Cincinnati.

The zoo is now planning to introduce Yola to the public on Tuesday, June 7, at 1 p.m. The extra week will give her more time to get comfortable in her new environment.