Cincinnati Zoo rejoins Twitter following Harambe controversy

After a 2-month hiatus, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden appears to be back on Twitter.

The zoo deactivated its account Aug. 21 after internet outrage spawned by the death of one of the zoo's gorillas led to a series of social media account hacks targeting the zoo and its director, Thane Maynard.

Zoo spokesperson Michelle Curley said the Twitter account went back up last week, and zoo officials on began tweeting again on Tuesday.

“We missed having it as a communications tool,” Curley said of the zoo’s decision to come back to Twitter. “We have a lot to talk about and share with our followers.”

It also returned to what forced it into hiatus in the first place: reminders of Harambe, the 17-year-old Western lowland gorilla that was killed by zoo officials in May after a 3-year-old boy fell into his enclosure.

Almost immediately upon the zoo's return to Twitter, its tweets — ranging from World Okapi Day to Halloween — were permeated with hundreds of comments about Harambe.

“It was becoming a distraction and not the useful tool it had once been,” Curley said of the zoo’s decision to take the account down.

She said zoo officials have applied to Twitter for verified status. During the organization’s hiatus from Twitter, accounts not affiliated with the zoo sprung up posing as the official account.

Though the zoo kept its Facebook and Instagram accounts active, “there are some things that are much more suited to Twitter,” Curley said. She said the zoo uses the account to share things happening in the moment that wouldn’t necessarily lend themselves to other social media.


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