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Cincinnati Zoo reopening gorilla enclosure one year after Harambe's death

May 28 marks a year since a child fell into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, causing zoo officials to shoot and kill Harambe, one of the apes. 

Soon, fans of Harambe other gorillas will again be able to visit the famous ape’s former enclosure at the zoo’s Gorilla World.

>> Read more trending news

Gorilla World has been revamped with new safety precautions and is set to reopen to the public in June. A second phase of renovations will be complete and opened in November.

Changes include new landscaping, an energy-efficient stream and waterfall and a resurfaced outdoor habitat.

A new indoor area will also allow guests to see the gorillas year-round.

“We launched a fundraising campaign to expand Gorilla World in 2015 and have come a long way since we broke ground on the project last fall,” zoo director Thane Maynard said in a news release. “We’re on track to complete the new indoor environment this fall and excited to get gorillas outside in a few weeks.

According to Cincinnati.com, fundraising for the project raised $12 million.

Maynard said Gorilla World, which opened in 1978, had been well-maintained over the years, but the zoo’s “involvement in international gorilla conservation and concern for gorilla well-being at our zoo and everywhere influenced (the) decision to expand and revitalize.”

“We wanted to make it better,” Maynard said.

The zoo installed new barriers at the exhibit after a 3-year-old boy fell into the gorilla enclosure. The Cincinnati Zoo is home to at least 10 gorillas. 

Zoo officials say the new barriers include wooden beams and knotted rope netting.

Read more here.

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report.

Forget webcam: You can now visit April the Giraffe and her calf in person

Millions of people around the world followed April the Giraffe and the birth of her calf, Tajiri, from afar by monitoring Animal Adventure Park’s social media posts and livestreams of the pregnant animal.

But now animal lovers can see the mother-and-son duo up close because Animal Adventure Park, which is in Harpursville, New York, has opened for the season.

>> Read more trending news

According to Spectrum News, the line was lengthy to get into the wildlife park on Monday, which was opening day.

Tajiri, whose name was chosen by his keeper and means “hope” in Swahili, has already grown to 6 feet, 4 inches and weighs 180 pounds, according to the park.

Time is of the essence for fans of the giraffes, because according to People magazine, Tajiri will be moved to another zoo once he matures in order to prevent inbreeding.

Must-see: SeaWorld's last baby killer whale born in Texas

SeaWorld has welcomed its last baby killer whale.

The company announced in a news release that 25-year-old orca Takara gave birth to a calf at 2:33 p.m. CT Wednesday at SeaWorld San Antonio in Texas. Its gender "will be confirmed at a later date," the park said.

“This is an exciting and emotional day for us at SeaWorld, and we are all so proud to share this new killer whale calf with the world after a year and a half of planning and observing and providing all the special care,” Chris Bellows, vice president of zoological operations, said in a statement. “Takara is a great mom and immediately began bonding with and caring for her new baby. Every day, she inspires SeaWorld’s guests to learn more about and do more to protect animals in the wild. She is a true ambassador.”

>> Read more trending news

Visitors soon will be able to see the calf with its mother "during select times," the park said.

Last year, SeaWorld said it would stop breeding killer whales and halt its orca shows by 2019 following protests by animal-rights groups, The Associated Press reported.

Read more here and here.

April the giraffe fans, here's how you can help name the new calf

April the giraffe's long-awaited calf is finally here – but he doesn't have a name.

That's where her throngs of fans come in.

>> World rejoices as April the giraffe finally gives birth

The home of the proud mama, Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York, is holding a contest to name the new baby boy, born Saturday morning as 1.2 million viewers watched via livestream after months of anticipation. 

>> You can watch the birth here

To enter the contest, visit NameAprilsCalf.com. Votes are $1 each for a minimum of five votes. 

"For about 10 days, you can vote on any name or names you choose for April's new calf," the website says. "You even get to decide your own spelling. Come back and vote as many times as you'd like."

>> How long are giraffes pregnant? 

After the initial voting period, the park will reveal the top 10 names and hold another vote to determine the winner.

>> Read more trending news

The money will benefit giraffe conservation efforts, Ava's Little Heroes and Animal Adventure Park, the site saysLearn more here.

The park said it will livestream April and her calf through Thursday.

>> Watch the livestream here

Malta's Azure Window rock formation, featured on 'Game of Thrones,' collapses

An iconic landmark featured on HBO's "Game of Thrones" is no more.

According to The Associated Press, Malta's Azure Window, a rock formation on the coast of Gozo, collapsed Wednesday amid storms and rough waters following years of erosion.

>> Read more trending news

​Prime Minister Joseph Muscat called the loss "heartbreaking."

"Reports commissioned over the years indicated that this landmark would be hard hit by unavoidable natural corrosion," he tweeted. "That sad day arrived."

Read more here.

>> Click here or scroll down for more

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WATCH: April the giraffe finally gives birth

The wait is over, April the giraffe fans. April has finally given birth.

>>Watch the livestream of the birth 

The impending birth of a baby giraffe has had the internet waiting with bated breath since late February.

Baby elephant born at Disney's Animal Kingdom

With the new year comes a new baby at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

>> Read more trending stories  

On Wednesday, the park announced the birth of Stella, a female elephant calf born to 28-year-old Donna.

This is the third calf for Donna, and Stella's birth brings the total number of elephants at the park to 10. 

According to the Disney Parks Blog, Donna became pregnant through natural breeding in January 2015 and received extensive prenatal care throughout her pregnancy. Elephant pregnancies last 18-22 months -- nearly two years and the longest known pregnancy for a mammal.

 Both mom and baby spent some time backstage to give Stella a chance to nurse and bond with some of the other elephants in her family.

The new baby elephant is currently frolicking and exploring the savanna at Animal Kingdom's Kilimanjaro Safari. 

Read more at the Disney Parks Blog.

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Watch Giant panda at Toronto Zoo frolic, demolish giant snowman

The Toronto Zoo’s giant panda bear, Da Mao, had a little winter fun this week, frolicking, wrestling, eventually destroying a giant snowman his keeper built inside his habitat.

>> Read more trending stories

The whole escapade was caught on camera by a zoo researcher and has gone viral.

Da Mao VS da snow man.🐼 Da Mao VS da snow man ⛄. Da Mao at is it again! Watch our security camera footage as he plays with, or rather disassembles, a snowman his Keepers made for him this morning.Posted by The Toronto Zoo on Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The panda is seen rolling in the snow and clawing at the snowman before ripping its head off. Da Mao then tumbles to the ground, snowman head in tow, before eventually climbing up and sprawling atop what’s left of the snowman.

The bear is one of two pandas from China that arrived in Toronto in 2013 for a 10-year stay, according to the zoo. 

Both Da Mao and his partner, Er Shun, will remain at the Toronto Zoo until the spring of 2018, when the pair will move to the Calgary Zoo.

The giant pandas have become a favorite sight for visitors, the zoo said.

More Disney restaurants to serve alcohol, some passholders getting own entrance

Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, has two new additions to the theme park's features.

More restaurants at the Magic Kingdom will start serving alcohol this week.

>> Read more trending stories

Starting Friday, Tony's Town Square, the Liberty Tree Tavern, the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen and Cinderella's Royal Table will serve alcohol with lunch and dinner. , Alcohol  is currently served at the Be Our Guest restaurant.

Starting Wednesday, Disney annual passholders will have special passholder entry points at all park gates.

The park said it wanted to honor its annual passholders during the busy holiday season.

The entrances will be open through January, but a specific end date has not been set.

Florida woman becomes first female ringmaster for Ringling Bros.

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report.

Kristen Michelle Wilson is the new ringmaster for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's Presents Circus XTREME, becoming the first-ever female ringmaster in the circus's 146-year history.

>> Read more trending stories  

Feld Entertainment, the production company that owns the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, described Wilson as a "dynamic" performer with "exceptional" vocal skills. 

"She came in and sang a song from the show and, yes, she sounded great, but then she sang 'Greatest Show on Earth' by Christina Aguilera, and it blew me away," circus director Rye Mullis told the Tampa Bay Times. "That was the moment I knew she was right for the job. Her pop vocals are insane and her presence. She was like no one we saw during the audition process."

According to icFlorida.com, Wilson, 35, was motivated to join the circus after seeing "Pippin" on Broadway. She beat out hundreds of candidates in a nationwide audition process for the role. 

"To be the ringmaster of The Greatest Show On Earth is a bucket-list role," she said. 

Ringling Bros. has boasted many impressive female stars, but Wilson, of Orlando, will break the ceiling as the first female ringmaster when she joins the show on Jan. 12. Wilson, lead singer of the Florida-based rock/funk band Sonic Gypsies and who also works in dinner theater shows, will be the 39th ringmaster in Ringling Bros. history. 

"I love running through the crowd, dancing and pumping people up. Now, I get to do all my favorite things on this grand scale," she told the Times. 

Wilson will replace David Shipman, who is retiring from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, and she will take over at about the midpoint of the tour.

Her premiere performance will be in Orlando, followed by stops in Jacksonville, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Greenville, South Carolina, and Greensboro, North Carolina.

Read more at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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