A horrifying Pittsburgh Zoo accident has lead to a 2-year old boy’s death on Sunday afternoon.
At 11:48 a.m. at the Highland Park zoo complex, a 2-year old boy who was with his mother, fell approximately 14 feet down into an enclosure with African painted dogs.
Barbara Baker, director of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium said, “There is a railing with a graphic sign. And the child flipped over the top of that railing, and there is also a catch basin to catch things that fall into the exhibit. But apparently the child flipped over that as well.”
At the time of the fall, there were 11 of the endangered African painted dogs in the exhibit. Zoo keepers and police officers shot darts trying to lure the dogs away from the boy. Other zoo officials tried to beat the remaining African painted dogs back away from the boy that fell. The most aggressive dog was shot and killed by a Pittsburgh police officer as it seemed to not respond to zoo keepers. A news release stated that, “unfortunately, the dogs were in pack mentality and not responding”.
The dogs were removed from the exhibit, with the exception of the one that was shot and “Unfortunately, by the time EMTs were able to get to him, the boy had passed away,” Baker said.
The accident at the Pittsburgh zoo shut down the zoo within a half-hour and it’s not clear when it will be reopen.
Baker said the Pittsburgh zoo has never had a visitor death, but they will be investigating. She also said no decision has been made yet on the future of the exhibit. “We’ve had the exhibit up since 2006 and we have not had any issues with the dogs,” Baker said. “This is a tragic accident.”
In May, some of the African painted dogs had crawled under a fence and escaped into another part of the exhibit that was closed. As a precaution, the Pittsburgh zoo was on lockdown for about an hour.
African painted dogs are among the most endangered dog species in the world, with less than 5,000 left. The Pittsburgh zoo has a breeding program. The Washington Post reported that, “Ten African painted dogs were born at the zoo in 2009, and their mother died of a ruptured uterus shortly after delivering the litter. Five of the pups survived. It was only the second litter to be hand-raised in captivity, along with one in the United Kingdom, zoo officials said at the time.”
Pittsburgh Zoo Accident
A 2-year-old was killed when he fell into an exhibit of endangered African dogs.
Pittsburgh Zoo Death
A two-year-old boy has been mauled to death by a pack of ravenous African wild dogs when he fell off a railing his mother put him on to view the animals at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium.
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