Changes made following 2015 CLE Zoo incident

Posted at 5:57 PM, May 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-31 17:57:53-04

Safety changes were put in place at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo following a 2015 incident where a toddler made their way into a cheetah exhibit. At the time, Michelle Schwab was charged with child endangering, but later pleaded no contest to a lesser trespassing charge.

Executive Director Dr. Chris Kuhar said the zoo added higher glass barriers at the exhibit as well as at a pool for sea animals following the April 2015 incident.

“What we did is we cut that wall back to about 2 feet, and then added 8 feet of glass,” Dr. Kuhar said of the sea animal enclosure, “So what that does is it provides a very safe experience for our guests, but it also increases visibility, so even a small child can walk up and see the exhibit. They don’t have to climb.”

Previously, Dr. Kuhar said some exhibits, including one showcasing black bears, received wiring above wooden barriers, so that parents would not prop their children on them.  He said those safety enhancements would also be visible at a new tiger exhibit. The Rosebrough Tiger Passage is set to open on Friday morning.

“We make these changes, not only to guarantee the safety of the public,” he said, “But to make sure we’re keeping our animals safe as well.”

This weekend, officials at the Cincinnati Zoo came under fire after a rare 400-pound gorilla was shot and killed after a child got into the enclosure.

“I see where the mom’s coming from,” Kaytee McCorkle said walking into the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo with her toddler, “And I also see where people are upset that the gorilla had to lose its life because of a mistake on our part.”


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