The Ohio Zoo and Botanical Garden says it will close its gates after receiving threats against its animals
CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Ohio State Zoological Park will close down after receiving a threatening phone call about its animals, officials said Wednesday.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said in a statement that it received the call from a man who said he was upset with the zoo for closing and would contact the zoo directly if he received a call from an animal handler.
The park will remain open, officials say.
Officials have been working to address the situation.
They said the threats were not related to the closure.
They added that the zoo is working to ensure the safety of the animals.
The zoo has about 2,000 animals and has more than 10,000 visitors a year.
“We take these threats very seriously and are working with the local police to determine the nature of the threat and to ensure that it does not negatively impact the lives of our employees,” said the zoo’s general manager, Tom Koehler.
“We have made significant improvements in security measures, including the installation of additional cameras and security cameras, and are in the process of improving our communication with our guests and staff.
We remain open and will remain in operation through the end of this week.”
The Ohio Zoo has more recently received threats against the park, including one in which a person called in an armed robbery.
The caller said he had a gun and wanted to kill the park’s chief executive officer, and threatened to use the hostage situation to get a large ransom payment.
He said he also threatened to burn down the zoo.
The zoo said it is working with law enforcement and will provide more information when it can.