Cincinnati Zoo, site of gorilla slaying, evacuated over suspicious device

September 8, 2016 6:51 PM EDT

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(Reuters) - Cincinnati police found nothing on Thursday after receiving a phone threat of a suspicious device at a zoo where a gorilla was shot earlier this year to protect a child who had fallen into its enclosure.

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden was evacuated in the afternoon as police and bomb-sniffing dogs searched the area, the police department said. "No credible threats found at the Cincinnati Zoo," the department tweeted about an hour later.

Police said the zoo, in southern Ohio, would reopen Friday.

The zoo faced criticism after a 3-year-old boy fell into a gorilla enclosure in May, prompting zookeepers to fatally shoot an endangered gorilla named Harambe to protect the child.

Zoo officials said in a statement that they had safely evacuated staff and guests around 3:30 p.m. EDT (1930 GMT) "as a precaution" due to "an unspecified threat" received by the police.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Alan Crosby)

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