Boy, one, who fell into rhino exhibit at zoo airlifted to hospital

A child who fell into a rhino exhibit has been airlifted to hospital.

The incident happened at Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida, USA.

Brevard Zoo said the boy and his family were taking part in a ‘hands-on educational experience’ with the rhinos when he fell through the railings.

At least one of white rhinoceroses’ snouts made contact with the child and the mother was injured trying to rescue the boy.

Brevard County Fire and Rescue [BCFR} said a trauma alert was issued for the boy.

The one-year-old boy was airlifted to Arnold Palmer Hospital for treatment.

His mother taken by ambulance Orlando Regional Medical Center.

Brevard Zoo said in a statement that the family was taking part in Rhino Encounter, a hands-on educational experience when the incident occured.

The zoo says a series of steel poles separate participants from the rhinos during the experience.

The zoo says the child stumbled and fell in between two of the poles.

"Early this afternoon, during a Rhino Encounter, a hands-on, educational experience with Brevard Zoo’s white rhinoceroses, a young guest entered the rhinoceros yard and was injured,” said Keith Winsten, the Zoo’s executive director.

"The family was transported to a local hospital by ambulance. The condition of the child is unknown at this time.

"During the encounter, participants and the rhinoceroses are separated by a series of steelpoles.

"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 Zoo has offered this experience daily without incident since 2009.

“Our number one concern is the safety and welfare of our guests and our hearts go out to the family.

“Safety has always been of paramount importance to us and we are suspending these encounters until we have thoroughly reviewed our processes and procedures to ensure this cannot happen again.”

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, according to the zoo, WKMG reports.

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