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Expanded gorilla exhibit scheduled to open a year after Harambe's death

CINCINNATI -- An expanded Gorilla World exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo is scheduled to open in early June shortly after the one year anniversary of the shooting death of an endangered gorilla named Harambe.

Thane Maynard, Cincinnati Zoo director, said they're excited to get the gorillas back outside.

"We're on track to complete the new indoor environment this fall and excited to get gorillas outside in a few weeks," Maynard said in a press release.

Zoo director defends decision to kill gorilla 05:36

Construction began last fall, but had been in the works since 2015. The changes include new landscaping, an energy-efficient stream and waterfall and a resurfaced outdoor habitat. A new indoor area will also allow guests to see the gorillas year round.

"We wanted to make it better. Having more access to natural light and additional spaces to explore will improve the lives of our gorillas, and the opportunity to see gorillas in the colder months will enhance the visitor experience," Maynard said.

Last year, a federal inspection concluded that the zoo's barrier between the public and gorillas wasn't in compliance with standards for housing primates. Zoo officials have said they installed new, bigger barriers to comply with federal regulations.

Maynard said in May 2016 that the zoo's special response team decided the 3-year-old boy's life was in danger and they were forced to fatally shot the 400-pound-plus gorilla.

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