Child injured during 'Rhino Encounter' at Brevard Zoo in Florida originally appeared on abcnews.go.com
A little girl was injured after falling into a rhino exhibit Tuesday at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida.
The toddler, who is approximately 2 years old, and her mother were taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital For Children and Orlando Regional Medical Center, Brevard County Fire Rescue said. The mother had non-critical injuries to her arm.
The injured child's father released a statement through the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, which said, "Our daughter is in good care at Arnold Palmer Hospital and is doing well. My wife was also treated for her injury and has been released from the hospital. At this time, we ask for privacy as we focus on our daughter’s recovery.”
The child and the family have not been identified by the hospital, the zoo or Fire Rescue.
The child fell during the "Rhino Encounter," a "hands-on, educational experience with Brevard Zoo’s white rhinoceroses," Brevard Zoo said in an emailed statement to ABC News, adding that the program has been operating since 2009 without incident.
"During the encounter, participants and the rhinoceroses are separated by a series of steel poles," it added. "According to witnesses, the child stumbled and fell in between two of the poles and at this point, the snout of at least one of rhinoceroses made contact with the child."
The "Rhino Encounter" is a zookeeper-led program for ages 3 and older, according to the zoo's website.
“Our number one concern is the safety and welfare of our guests and our hearts go out to the family,” Keith Winsten, the zoo’s executive director said.
The Rhino Encounter program has been suspended while the zoo evaluates its safety.
The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a statement to ABC News, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family right now for a speedy recovery. The FWC is conducting a thorough investigation of the incident. Public safety is our number one priority."