Child falls into rhino exhibit at Brevard Zoo in Melbourne

Child was participating in hands-on experience with rhinos when child fell

MELBOURNE, Fla. – A child fell into the rhino exhibit Tuesday at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Brevard County Fire Rescue officials confirmed on their Twitter page.

According to WKMG, a spokesman for the Zoo said the child was participating in a hands-on experience with the rhinos when the child fell between the polls and entered the yard with the animals.

"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," Zoo spokesman Elliot Zirulnik said in an email.

The snout is not the horn of the rhino, but below the horn near the rhino's mouth area, Zirulnik said.

According to Zirulnik, the zoo has offered the hands-on experience daily since 2009 without any incidents prior to Tuesday.

Authorities said the child was taken as a trauma alert to Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital in Orlando. The child's mother was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center for treatment.

Authorities did not immediately say how the mother became injured.

According to the zoo's website, the exhibit is home to three southern white rhinos, a male named Howard and two females named Uzuri and Kibibi. Howard, who weights 5,200 pounds, joined the pack in October, WKMG reported.

Fully grown white rhinos can weigh up to 6,000 pounds.



About the Author: