The death of a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo prompted Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo to delay the debut of their new baby gorilla, Yola.
Little Yola is only 6 months old, but she was scheduled to make her first public appearance Tuesday. Hours before a media event, the zoo decided to cancel.
"Our condolences go out to our colleagues in Cincinnati,” said curator Martin Ramirez. “It's a very difficult time for them having lost a rare an endangered gorilla as they did, and also to the family of the child who was injured as well."
They decided to delay Yola's debut out of respect for the Cincinnati gorilla's death, Ramirez said. They also think Yola could use another week or so to get adjusted to her new enclosure.
The zoo trains regularly for emergencies like the one facing staff in Cincinnati when a boy fell into the gorilla exhibit, ending in the gorilla's death when staff made the choice to kill Harambe, believing the child's life was at risk.
The Woodland Park Zoo has firearms on site and trains with the Seattle Police Department.
"We have a priority with a regard to safety. We always put the safety of our guests and staff before animals. The animals are a close second," Ramirez said. "Knock on wood, hopefully we'll never be called upon to make that decision but if we are, we realize that would be the right thing to do and we'd have to make that decision."
Yola has very special genes, according to zoo officials. She is one of the few gorillas in captivity whose close kin, in this case a grandfather, was a wild gorilla.
Copyright 2016 KING