2-Year-Old Girl Injured After Falling into Rhinoceros Exhibit at Florida Zoo
MELBOURNE, FL. – A 2-year-old girl was injured January 1 after falling into a rhinoceros exhibit at a Florida zoo, according to an online news report from myfox8.com. The extent of the child’s injuries are not known.*
The incident occurred on the afternoon of January 1 at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida. Reports indicate a 2-year-old girl attending the zoo with her mother fell into the rhinoceros exhibit and was transported to a local hospital with unknown injuries. She was reportedly under a trauma alert status. Her mother was also transported to a hospital with a non-life threatening arm injury.
The circumstances of the encounter are not yet completely clear. The Brevard Zoo released the following statement on the day of the incident: “Early this afternoon, during a Rhino Encounter, a hands-on, educational experience with Brevard Zoo’s white rhinoceroses, a young guest entered the rhinoceros yard and was injured. The family was transported to a local hospital by ambulance. The condition of the child is unknown at this time.”
The zoo said that during the encounter, guests and the rhinoceroses are separated by a series of steel poles. Witnesses told zoo officials that the 2-year-old girl stumbled and fell between two of the steel poles and landed in the exhibit. The “snout of at least one of [the] rhinoceroses made contact with the child,” the zoo said.
The zoo went on to say in the statement that it has offered the Rhino Encounter daily since 2009 and has not had an incident until now.
“Our number one concern is the safety and welfare of our guests, and our hearts go out to the family,” said Brevard Zoo Executive Director Keith Winsten. “Safety has always been of paramount importance to us, and we are suspending these encounters until we have thoroughly reviewed our processes and procedures to ensure this cannot happen again.”
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