A 2-year-old girl fell through the bars of a Rhino enclosure while watching the segment of the Rhino Encounter at Brevard Zoo in Florida. The Rhino Encounter allows visitors and guests to be able to touch the animals but under great supervision of the zookeepers. The activity has been there starting from the year 2009, and this incident that happened was the first one since it was introduced to the public.
According to the report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the child was with both her parents at that time when she fell backward through the pole bars directly into the exhibit. Her father and mother immediately tried to save her from the two female Rhinos that attacked her. Unfortunately, it was too late for them to do so. The girl was pinned against the bars by the Rhinos’ snouts right on the spot.
The toddler had been inside the rhino exhibit for roughly 10 seconds and was seen “alert and conscious” by the zoo employees when she was tried to be taken out through the bars. She was immediately rushed to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children but suffered multiple wounds to her abdomen, back, chest and head. She also has bruises on her lungs, lacerations in the liver, injuries to her kidney and a big lump on her forehead.
The mother and the father of the child also had injuries and wounds on their arms as they tried to pull their daughter back.
The official statement from the Zoo’s supervisor said that the parents were mindful of the child that time and were actually near her, but the little girl lost her balance while petting the rhinos and had fallen back through the bars. She landed on the ground and was behind one of the rhino’s foot and said that the girl went on the rhinos’ field of view when her dad tried to bring her back to safety. That was when the rhinos became nervous and spooked. The space between the bars where the girl had fallen is about 8 inches, and according to the zoo management, they will be adding up horizontal bars to prevent a similar incident.
Nevertheless, the girl is safe as well as the parents. The girl’s father released a statement to thank the people who are concerned about their family. He also added that as they are going through treatment, they also ask for privacy as they focus on their daughter’s full recovery.