MELBOURNE (CBSMiami) – A toddler is recovering in the hospital after falling into a rhino exhibit at the Brevard Zoo.
Zoo officials said the two-year-old girl slipped between a set of steel poles during an educational experience and came into contact with the snout – the area just under the horn – of one of their white rhinos. Her father reportedly jumped in after her.
She was pulled from the area and taken to the hospital. Her mother was also taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries and has been released.
Zoo officials have suspended the rhino encounters until they can review their protocols.
The rhino involved was not apparently hurt and officials say they will not euthanize it.
As for the little girl, her father said it had been a “trying day” and they are focused on her recovery.
Zoo officials say they have had the “rhino encounter” program at the zoo for a decade and never had an incident like this.
The incident came just days after a lion killed a woman at a North Carolina animal refuge.
Twenty-two-year-old intern Alexandra Black was helping clean out the lion’s cage when it escaped a locked area and attacked her. After efforts to tranquilize the lion failed, zoo officials shot and killed it.