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NC Zoo temporarily closes gorilla habitat

Posted on 06/14/2010

ASHEBORO, NC - The North Carolina Zoo closed its lowland gorilla exhibit Sunday in order to clear a limb that had fallen into the habitat, presenting a possible avenue for one curious gorilla to leave the exhibit-although it never did.

The gorilla remained in the exhibit throughout the response, and no visitors, staff members or animals were injured. After being notified of the incident, zoo staff member quickly brought all four gorillas into off-exhibit holding areas in order to allow zoo keepers to check the exhibit and ensure its safety and integrity.

A limb, thought to have been loosened by Saturday's storm, fell into the gorilla exhibit early Sunday afternoon, acting as a make-shift ladder. Although one gorilla, a young female, did attempt to climb the limb, she was never out of the exhibit.

Keepers routinely check the exhibit each morning to ensure against such incidents, but after their routine exhibit check Sunday, the limb fell into the exhibit due to high winds.

The exhibit will remain closed today and possibly Tuesday while staff horticulturists check all overhanging trees for loose limbs and to conduct routine exhibit maintenance.

The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee Freeman, Secretary; Beverly E. Perdue, Governor.

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